Imagine starting your car or driving down the road and all of a sudden the brake warning light comes on. This is a strong indication that something is wrong with your braking system. Sometimes this could be a simple issue that requires simple fix but sometimes it could be a safety issue that could be life threatening. Usually when you start your car, all the warning lights initially come on while the onboard computer runs a check. Each time a particular system is checked to be working fine, the warning light responsible for that system goes off. This continues sequentially until all the warning lights go off. But in a case where the brake warning light comes on, there is a problem. We will look at possible causes of this and proposed fixes to this problem.

Brake Handle Not Completely Lowered

Hand Brake

The brake warning light can stay on is if the brake handle is not completely lowered or released. Double-check that the handle is all the way down and that the parking brake is disengaged. Any pressure on the parking brake cable will cause the light to stay on.

Parking Brake Not Disengaging

Brake Light Warning Light

Sometimes the parking brake itself could be faulty. If the brake does not disengage when the handle is lowered, the warning light will stay on in the dash. Look into replacing the parking brake.

Bad Switch

Brake Switch

One common reason for the parking brake light to stay on is a failing or failed switch. This can be checked easily by shaking the handle after it is down. If the light turns off or turns off and then back on, the switch is the most likely culprit and will need to be replaced.

Low Brake Fluid

Brake Fluid Reservoir

The parking brake warning light is a multi-functional device, and is designed to illuminate if the fluid level in the reservoir drops below a certain point. You may notice the light turning on or off when you make a turn as the fluid level changes. To solve this problem, you’ll need to check the brake fluid level and top it up if necessary.

Bad Level Sensor

Brake Fluid Level Sensor

Your master cylinder is equipped with a brake fluid level sensor. It’s sometimes mounted in the side of the sensor, and is sometimes part of the reservoir cap. If the sensor fails or is going bad, the parking brake warning light will turn on.

Uneven Brake Fluid Pressure

Brake Fluid Pressure

If your car is experiencing uneven brake fluid pressure in one or more lines, it will affect braking performance, and could possibly cause the vehicle to pull to one side or the other during braking. It can also turn on the parking brake light. This needs to be checked.