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How to Reset Parking Brake Light: Find Out!

  • Car Services
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 7 minutes

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When you start your car, the lights in your dashboard illuminate briefly before turning off to indicate that everything is working properly. The only light that will remain shining before you pull off is the parking brake light. But what if that light won’t turn off? That can make you panic for some time. But the fact is that there isn’t a reason to panic if you know how to reset parking brake light! 

The parking brake light usually illuminates when you engage the parking brake. Even if the parking brake is disengaged, the indicator may stop working normally and remain lit. It could indicate that your parking brake isn’t working properly. So, what causes the light to remain illuminated? 

Before you take your car to a mechanic, you can resolve this issue if you know how to reset parking brake light. Our blog will guide you on that! 

how to reset parking brake light

What is a parking brake light? 

A light in your car’s dashboard illuminates when the car starts or engages the parking brake. A ‘P’ alphabet inside a circle with two brackets on the outside denotes the parking brake warning light. This bracketed circle is a reference signal for multiple warning lights in a car’s braking system.  

parking brake light on
Image courtesy: Larrousiney, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, there is a difference between the lights of the parking brake and the general brake system. An exclamation mark in the same bracketed circle denotes a general brake system. So. Never get confused between these two. 

Is your parking brake light illuminated? Don’t worry. Keep reading to know in detail about how to reset parking brake light. 

What does an illuminated parking brake light mean? 

The parking brake warning light illuminates when you engage the parking brake. The parking brake warning light should illuminate when you engage the parking brake electronically or manually. The issue is when the parking brake warning light illuminates without engaging the parking brake 

So, you can assume that the parking brake hydraulics may be faulty. The parking brake’s proper operation depends on the brake fluid. So if it dips below a particular pressure, it might cause a malfunction, and the warning light turns on.  

What should you do if the parking brake light turns on? 


Suppose the parking brake warning light gets illuminated. In that case, it is best to start by pulling to a safe location and turning off the engine. Wait a few seconds before restarting the engine. The alert was false if the parking brake warning light gets turned off.  

Check the brake fluid level to see if the parking brake indicator is still on. You can find the brake fluid reservoir below the hood on the driver’s side. Suppose the brake fluid level falls significantly below the minimal level. In that case, you must fill it up immediately to ensure effective braking system operation. 

We recommend waiting a few minutes after filling up before starting the engine. You can check the system for leaks this way. If the brake fluid continues to leak, you should take it to an expert mechanic immediately. 

How to reset parking brake light 

So, has the warning light turned on without engaging the parking brake? It could be due to a minor or major technical fault, or it could just be something you neglected. Here are various recommendations on how to reset parking brake light. After completing one of these steps, consider disengaging the parking brake to see if it resolves the problem. 

Double-check the handle 

The parking brake light may remain illuminated if you have not fully lowered the parking brake handle. You must lower the lever fully to release the brake. As a result, before driving to get a diagnosis and repair, it is vital to inspect the handle. 

Add brake fluid  

Check that the brake fluid in the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir is above the minimum line. Sensors are normally attached to the body or cap of brake master cylinders. So, if the fluid level dips below a specific level, the sensor should detect and illuminate the warning light. 

Repair leaking brake fluid 

Using brake fluid in the engine is another source of brake leakage. Since brake fluid provides the ability to stop the car, if any of the fluid leaks, your car will almost certainly lose this ability. So, inspect the brake fluid reservoir if you find any fluid under your car or truck. If it is not empty, the source could be a brake leak. 

Repairing a parking brake switch 

The brake pedal or lever comes with a switch that interacts with the pedal or lever to convey a signal when you engage the brake. The light may still illuminate if the contacts or connections on these switches are no longer correctly aligned, cracked, or obstructed. You may need to remove the footrest or center console to find the switch and ensure it functions properly.  

Repairing defective brake sensors 

The brake sensor informs you about the state of the braking mechanism. While driving, you will see that the brake fluid in the reservoir is depleting, and the parking brake is getting used. The sensor can occasionally be inaccurate and convey an incorrect signal. As a result, even if your entire braking system is functioning properly, the parking brake light may remain lit. 

Repair of Anti-lock Brake System 

Another potential source of a faulty parking brake light could be a defective anti-lock braking mechanism (ABS). If the ABS fails, the parking brake light will likely turn on and alert you. It is a difficult problem, and you will probably require a skilled mechanic’s assistance to search for problems in your car’s computer code. 

What happens if ABS and parking brake lights illuminate together?  

The ABS and parking brake warning lights illuminate in the worst-case situation. If you’ve tried turning the car off and starting, and the lights are still on, it’s best to seek assistance. It is because the issue may result in trouble braking the car or a problem with the brake calipers, which may be partially locked. 

If the brake calipers become blocked, driving the car may become tough, and you may lose control. So, be mindful that you must do brake pad replacement regularly. When the brake pads wear out, there is a danger of major braking system problems, and the brake warning light illuminates regularly. 

Can you drive with the parking brake engaged? 

Yes. You can drive your car even if the parking brake light gets illuminated. If you engage the parking brake, the light will illuminate without locking the wheels. 

Can you drive with a parking brake malfunction? 

Yes. But you must not take the issue lightly. Driving with a defective parking brake for an extended period can cause damage to your car’s transmission.  

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