How to Reset Your Parking Brake Light in 6 Steps

After turning the ignition on, so many symbols lit up on your car dashboard with various colors that you are left wondering if it is Christmas already. Parking Brake Light is one of those symbols responsible for informing you if the parking brake is engaged or not.

Normally, the light would be illuminated when the parking brake has been engaged. But sometimes the light can fail to function normally and remain illuminated even after you’ve disengaged the parking brake.

Such circumstances could indicate a malfunction in your parking brake system. Thus, we’ll show you how to reset the parking brake light properly to solve this problem.

The Parking Brake Light – An Explanation

The Parking Brake Light – An Explanation

The parking brake light on your car dashboard serves as an indicator of the parking brake system. Originally the concept behind the parking brake was to stop the vehicle if the main brake system had failed. 

But as modern vehicles are no longer equipped with such functionality, it’s primary purpose now is to keep a vehicle stay put when parked – in other words, stopping the vehicle from rolling away. It is highly useful, especially when a vehicle is parked on a steep position. 

Before parking a car, activate the parking brake first, which will turn the parking brake light on. In most cases, the color is either red or orange.

Many drivers tend to reverse the process by parking the car before activating the parking brake, which puts pressure on the transmission and causes unnecessary parking issues.

Also, driving with the parking brake on may result in extensive damage to a car. So, developing the practice of using the parking brake properly is a prerequisite for constructing a healthy driving style.

Naturally, the parking brake light would go off once the brake is disengaged. But if that’s not the case, it can be a sign of major or minor problems in the brake system. Identifying and fixing the issues should be the first priority, as delaying them may give rise to further complications.

The Fix – Resetting The Parking Brake Light

The Fix – Resetting the Parking Brake Light

To reset the parking brake light, you should begin with identifying the problem that is causing it to malfunction. After the problem has been identified properly, proceed with the solution. Follow the guidelines stated below to repair your parking brake system.

1. Double-Checking the Handle

One of the reasons behind your parking brake light to stay lit might be because you didn’t quite lower the handle. The handle must be lowered properly to completely disengage the brake. So, double-checking the handle may be a good idea before being completely lost into the thoughts about how much the repair would cost.

2. Adding Brake Fluid

If the master cylinder fluid reservoir lacks the proper amount of brake fluid, the parking brake cannot be activated. The brake fluid is responsible for the braking system to work properly. Thus, brake fluid deficiency can easily prevent the parking brake from being engaged, causing the light to malfunction.

So, replacing your brake pads after a while is always a good idea. Also, after replacing the brake pads, don’t forget to top off your brake fluid to the maximum recommended level.

Maintaining a proper brake fluid level will ensure the parking brake to work properly and return the parking brake light to the normal condition.

3. Fixing a Brake Fluid Leak

Another reason your brake may malfunction is the leaking of brake fluid from your car. As brake fluid provides the ability to stop a car, if a leak causes all of the fluid to come out, your car will most likely lose that ability.

So, if you notice any fluid under your car, pay a visit to the brake fluid reservoir. If it’s nearly empty, the reason could be a leaking brake.

Pushing the brake pedal down can also identify a brake fluid leak. If it goes all the way down to the floor with no resistance, your brake system probably has a leak.

And if that’s the case, locate the brake fluid leaks and fix them immediately.

How to Reset Your Parking Brake Light

4. Repairing the Parking Brake Switch

Like every other switch that turns on a light, parking brake switch also has the ability to turn on the parking brake light on your dashboard, indicating the activation of the parking brake.

So, if your parking brake light keeps blinking or remains lit, a malfunctioned switch could be the reason. It can happen because of the internal wiring damages. Also, the bulbs in the dashboard could have defected.

Whatever the reason, repairing or replacing the parking brake switch may cause the lights to function properly.

5. Mending the Faulty Brake Sensors

Brake sensors are responsible for informing you about the condition of your brake system. You will be well-informed, whether it is low brake fluid in the reservoir or your parking brake being activated while driving.

Sometimes the sensors can be faulty and send wrong signals. And that means even if your whole braking system is in wonderful condition, it can still trigger the parking brake light to remain lit.

So, rechecking the sensors and fixing them might make the parking brake light to function perfectly.

6. Repairing the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

After you have checked all of the above repairments, another possible reason behind a faulty parking brake light could be a flawed Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). ABS is a complex structure consisting of computers and sensors. If there is a flaw in ABS, the parking brake light will most likely turn on, providing you a warning.

It is a complex problem; you will most likely need a professional to check for errors in the vehicle’s computer codes.

Watch My emergency brake light won’t turn off (PART 1)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when my parking brake light is on?

When the parking brake light is on, it typically means that your parking brake is engaged or not fully released. It’s important to address this issue promptly to ensure safe driving.

How do I know if my parking brake light needs to be reset?

If the parking brake light remains illuminated even after releasing the parking brake, it may need to be reset. Additionally, if the light continues to stay on while driving, it clearly indicates that a reset is necessary.

Can a faulty parking brake switch cause the light to stay on?

Yes, a faulty parking brake switch can cause the light to stay on. If you suspect that the switch is the culprit, it’s recommended to have it inspected and replaced if necessary.

Is it safe to drive with the parking brake light on?

It is generally not safe to drive with the parking brake light on. The light indicates a problem with your parking brake system, which could affect your vehicle’s braking performance. It’s best to have the issue resolved before driving.

How often should I reset my parking brake light?

You should only need to reset your parking brake light when it remains on after releasing the parking brake. Otherwise, the light should automatically turn off when the parking brake is fully disengaged.


Your parking brake light is a powerful indicator that informs you about the condition of your parking brake. But as with other electronic devices, the parking brake light may cease to function properly. Whatever the reason be, the issues behind the malfunction must be addressed immediately.

So, you can either solve the issues yourself by taking advice from the internet or hire a professional if the problems seem too critical. Either way, repairments of the parking brake system should take precedence over anything. So, learn how to reset parking brake light and ensure the safety of yours and the others.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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