I have a 2001 Hyundai Accent. The break light recently came on. I never use the emergency break so Im not sure what it may mean. I wanted to know if any one know what this could be about before I take the car in to a mechanic.
Brake fluid is low in the master cylinder, most likely.
You don’t have an “emergency brake”. It is a parking brake. You should use it every time you park, whether you have a manual or automatic trans.
It means you may have an issue with your brake system, possibly including the ABS part. Test your brakes, and if they are OK, get to your mechanic ASAP. If your brakes don’t work or if you are risk averse, have it towed. We cannot tell how significant this issue is from a distance.
It would also be good to read the owner’s manual to see if it has any more specifics to say about the issue than what I just relayed.
A brake light on indicates either a partial failure of the hydraulic brake system or low fluid level. If the brake pedal still feels normal to you, it is most likely low fluid level causing the brake light to come on. Low fluid level is normally caused by a leak in the brake system or worn brake pads. As the pads wear down, the piston in the calipers moves farther out, requiring more fluid to fill the cylinder. Have your brakes inspected and repaired as necessary.
By the way, any time a light comes on in your dashboard that you don’t understand, consult your owner’s manual. Everything I just relayed to you will be contained in that book.
[i] I never use the emergency break[/i] That is a parking brake and you should use it every time you park. Not using it can result in damage to the transmission or even an accident and injury. Just for fun when no one is around and you are not driving fast, try using that parking brake as an emergency brake. At best it will slow you don't slowly. You do need to find out why the light came on. We can't tell from here, but it is possible you may soon loose all braking ability. I would recommend being towed or drive really carefully to a shop.
More than likely, brake fluid low. This is usually happens because, the pads are worn. My 99 Toyota Camry had the brake light come on when the rear deck light burnt out. Strange but true.