When you turn on the key, the vehicle’s dashboard displays many icons in different colors that make you think you are on vacation.
Among these indicators is the parking brake light, which indicates whether the parking brake is applied or not.
When the parking brake is applied, the light comes on normally. However, even if the parking brake is off, the indicator may stop functioning normally and remain illuminated.
This may suggest that your parking brake device is not working properly. However, here’s how you can fix the problem by properly resetting the parking brake light.
What exactly is a parking brake light?
Almost always, the parking brake warning light is recognized by a P inside a circle with two brackets on the outside.
Actually, this bracketed circle is the reference signal for numerous warning lights in a car’s brake system.
Most of the time, we have said this because the parking brake warning light is often coupled with the more general brake system warning light, which is symbolized by an exclamation point inside the same bracketed circle.
What does an illuminated brake light mean?
When the parking brake or parking brake is applied, the parking brake warning light illuminates.
When the parking brake is applied, either electronically or manually, the parking brake warning light on the instrument panel should activate.
Problems start when the parking brake warning light illuminates even when the parking brake is not applied. In this case, there may be problems with the parking brake hydraulics.
The proper functioning of the parking brake depends on the brake fluid which, if it drops below a certain pressure, can cause a malfunction and the parking brake warning lamp to come on.
What should I do if the parking brake warning light comes on?
If the parking brake warning light is on, it is advisable to start by pulling over to a safe place and turning off the engine.
Wait a few seconds before attempting to restart the engine. If the parking brake warning lamp goes out, the alert was a false alarm.
If the parking brake indicator is still on, the brake fluid level should be checked. The brake fluid reservoir is usually located on the driver’s side under the hood.
If the brake fluid level drops significantly below the minimum level, it should be topped up promptly to ensure proper operation of the braking system.
We suggest that after topping up, you wait a few minutes with the engine running before starting. In this way, the system is examined for leaks.
If the brake fluid continues to leak, you should go to the shop immediately to have the problem fixed.
What do the ABS and parking brake lights mean?
In the worst case, the ABS and parking brake warning lights are on. If you have tried turning the vehicle off and on and the lights are still on, it is advisable to come to a complete stop and contact roadside assistance.
This is because the problem may cause difficulty braking the vehicle or a problem with the brake calipers, which may be partially locked.
If the brake calipers become blocked, the vehicle may be difficult to drive and you may lose control.
Note that brake pad replacement should be done frequently. When the brake pads wear out, there is a danger of serious problems with the braking system, and the brake warning light comes on constantly.
How To Reset Parking Brake Light
Determine the source of the malfunction before resetting the brake light. Use the following suggestions to reset the parking brake light.
Step 1. Handle Check
The parking brake light may remain on if you have not fully lowered the handle. To fully release the brake, the handle must be lowered.
Therefore, before fully considering repair costs, it may be a good idea to inspect the handle.
Step 2. Add Brake Fluid
Check that the brake fluid is above the minimum line in the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir.
Brake master cylinders usually have sensors built into the body or cap, and if the fluid drops below a certain level, the sensor should detect it and illuminate it.
Step 3. Repair brake fluid leaks
Another source of brake leakage is the use of brake fluid in the engine. Since brake fluid has the power to stop the vehicle, if a failure allows any of the fluid to leak, your car will almost definitely lose this ability.
Consequently, if you discover any fluid under your car or truck, check the brake fluid reservoir. If it is not empty, the trigger may be a brake leak.
Step 4. Parking Brake Switch Repair
The brake pedal or lever, depending on which one you have, is almost certainly equipped with a switch that interacts with the pedal or lever to send a signal when the brake is applied.
Depending on whether the contacts or connections on these switches are no longer properly aligned, have cracked, or are blocked, the light may still be on.
To find the switch and make sure it is in good working condition, you may need to remove the footrest or center console.
Step 5. Repair of Faulty Brake Sensors
The brake sensor is responsible for informing you of the status of the braking mechanism.
While driving, you will notice that the brake fluid is decreasing in the reservoir and that the parking brake is being used.
The sensor can sometimes be inaccurate and give an incorrect signal. Consequently, even if your entire braking system is in good condition, the parking brake light may remain on.
Step 6. Anti-lock Brake System Repair
In examining all of the above solutions, another potential source of parking brake light malfunction may be a faulty anti-lock braking mechanism (ABS).
ABS is a complicated structure composed of processors and sensors. If the ABS fails, the parking brake light will most likely illuminate and alarm you.
This is a complicated problem, and you will almost certainly need the help of a specialist to look for errors in the vehicle’s computer code.
Parking Brake Light Stays On
If it remains illuminated after releasing the parking brake, or if it comes on and off periodically while driving, it indicates that you need to replenish the brake fluid.
If you check the fluid, add as much as necessary and the light still won’t go out, the braking system needs to be examined.
In fact, unless your brake system has a leak, you’re probably ready for a brake check anyway. Why? As your brake pads or shoes deteriorate, it takes more fluid to push them against the rotors or drums and bring the car to a stop.
This dashboard light may be gently informing you that it’s almost time to repair and service your brakes.
Why is my warning light on?
When your car’s brake warning light comes on, it tells you that something is wrong with the braking system.
How do I turn my parking brake warning light off?
Releasing the brake pedal can turn off the brake light. Some vehicles release the parking brake when shifting out of the park.
What does it mean when your parking brake light stays on?
This light acts as a parking brake warning light. It is a light that indicates that the parking or emergency brake has been activated and must be released before moving forward.
If it continues to illuminate after the parking brake is released, or if it opens and closes intermittently while driving, brake fluid should be applied.
Where is the parking brake switch located?
Locate the parking brake switch. If you have a foot-operated parking brake, the key is located on the joystick or behind the joystick under the instrument panel.
Install the button under the center console assembly above or below the joystick if you have a remote parking brake.
Final Thoughts – Reset a Brake Warning Light
The parking brake light, like any other electrical component, is susceptible to failure. Whatever the reason, the problem should be resolved as soon as possible.
Repairing the problem yourself with the help of the Internet is one possibility, but if the situation seems to be too serious, you should seek the help of a professional.
In any case, you should know how to reset the parking brake light to protect yourself and other drivers.