Why Does My Emergency Brake Light Stay On? 5 Reasons This Might Be Happening

When I disengage my parking brake, why does my emergency brake light stay on? Is there a fault with the light, or is it because of a bigger problem? Let’s find out in the article below!

Your parking brake, or hand brake, is designed to keep your car safe and motionless after parking. The job of the brake light is to indicate if any component of the braking system of the car is malfunctioning. 

You can take from this that if your emergency brake light stays on after disengaging the brake, there is some problem that requires your attention. The car’s brake light should be turned on when the brake is engaged and off when it is disengaged completely. 


Why Does My Emergency Brake Light Stay On


So, if the brake light stays on, even after the disengagement of the brake, it is an indicator of some malfunctioning issue in the braking system.

Now, you cannot immediately pinpoint the exact issue in the system, but you can at least be sure of it. Several factors lead to the brake light remaining on, and in this little article, we shall discuss them all. 

In case your vehicle’s brake light remains on too, read this article and understand the possible reason behind it. 


You might like to read: Emergency Brake Light Comes On When Accelerating


What Does Parking Brake Malfunction Mean?

A parking brake malfunction happens when the brake does not engage as and when it should. For example, if you park the car on the top of a hill, the malfunctioning part would make the wheels roll down the hill. 


A parking brake that functions appropriately will prevent the rear wheels from moving. However, the above was a great example of parking brake malfunction. It is more dangerous and life-threatening if not checked in time. 


Below are some of the results of an unchecked parking brake that continues to malfunction over some time:

  • The brakes become completely worn down because of the malfunctioning. 
  • The car’s inability to stop. Your car may roll on its own and hit someone if the malfunctioning brakes aren’t checked.
  • The damage done to the car due to the above pointer can cost you much higher than fixing the brakes’ malfunction. So, it is advised to immediately take your car for repair to avoid future liabilities. 


Why Does My Emergency Brake Light Stay On


Why Does the Emergency Brake Light Stay On? 5 Reasons This Might Be Happening.

Without proper functioning of the braking system, it is almost impossible not to lead to a collision and call it a disaster. In the modern world, it is also not easy to learn the exact cause of the brake problem. 

The good thing is that when the emergency brake light is on, they help us recognize that there is something wrong. The primary role of brake lights is thus, to indicate the issues with the braking system of the concerned car. 

Breaking lights are installed in the instrument cluster (behind the steering wheel) for a reason – they remind the drivers about the engaged parking brake. It helps people to refrain from driving with parking brakes engaged, which, if done, can damage various components of the vehicle. 

Sometimes, the emergency brake light remains on even after disengaging the parking brake. While many people take it quite casually and without concern, we are here to remind you that it happens for an important reason – it stays on for several factors discussed below.


You might like to read: What Does Brake Lamp Light Mean?


#1. Your brake pads have worn out

Brake pads function to slow down your vehicle and thus, wear out after a significant period. If your brake lights are staying on, it might be because the electronic sensor wires in the braking system are triggering it. The best solution for this problem is to get your brake pads replaced.

#2. Low brake fluid 

You can learn about the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder of the braking system. If the level is low, the brake warning lights will flash and stay on to let you know about the same. The best and only way to get out of this issue is to refill the fluid in the brake. 

#3. The parking brake is engaged

One of the most common reasons for the emergency braking light to illuminate the car is an engaged parking brake. As mentioned above, braking lights help us know if the parking brake is still engaged, and once it is disengaged, the light switches off automatically. 

If you continue driving with an engaged parking brake, it can lead to a lot of damage to the braking system. So, you should better pay attention to the warning braking lights that stay on because they are telling you something important. 


Why Does My Emergency Brake Light Stay On


#4. The brake light bulbs are defective or broken

It is also common for the brake light bulbs to be defective or broken down for the lights to stay on. To ensure that the vehicle has defective brake light bulbs, stand or make someone stand on the car’s rear end. 

Now, notice if the vehicle’s brake light bulbs do not illuminate after stepping on the brake pedal; if they aren’t, it’s time to replace them. Always remember to disengage the parking brakes before the inspection completely. 

#5. You have faulty ABS and sensors. 

The anti-locking brake system (ABS) is a part of every modern car to prevent it from losing traction and determine the tires’ speed. The speed sensors of ABS, when malfunctioning, can illuminate the brake warning lights or its own. It is essential to get the system cleaned since it will cost half of what the new ABS will charge you. 


You might like to read: 5 Reasons Why Brake Light Comes On While Driving


Why Is My Emergency Brake Light Staying On?

Some of the common reasons why the emergency brake light stays on when it shouldn’t are listed below. 

  • Low brake fluid 
  • Faulty or broken switch 
  • Engaged parking brake 
  • Uneven fluid pressure 
  • Bad level sensor 
  • Brake handle not being completely lowered

So, if you are wondering what is wrong with your braking light, it is probably one of the above reasons. To learn more about these, you should connect with an experienced mechanic. 


Why Does My Emergency Brake Light Stay On


A Few Final Words

The brake light has a vital role in keeping the braking system safe. It is not advised to drive a car when the brake lights indicate something wrong. 

So, if it stays on even after the brake is disengaged, we suggest you look for other causes and get them fixed. You should be proactive in getting the task done and prioritize your safety issues. 

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we covered all your questions. If not, please drop us a word in the comments and we will get back to you.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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