Handbrake light on: what does it mean and what to do?

Handbrake light on: what does it mean and what to do?

What is the parking brake light?

The parking brake warning light is almost always identified by a P inside a circle with two brackets on the outside. This circle with brackets is, in fact, the reference symbol for many warning lights in the car's brake system.

We have said this most of the time because sometimes the parking brake warning light is combined with the more generic brake system problem warning light, represented by an exclamation point inside the same circle with brackets.

What does the brake light on tell us?

The parking brake warning light is perfectly normal when the parking brake or handbrake is applied. Whether electric or manual, once the parking brake is applied, the parking brake warning light should come on in the instrument panel.

Problems start when the parking brake warning light is on, even though the parking brake is not. In this case there may be problems with the parking brake hydraulics.

Correct operation of the handbrake depends on the brake fluid which, if it falls below a certain pressure, can cause malfunctions and the handbrake warning light to come on.

What should I do if the handbrake warning light comes on?

If the handbrake warning light is on, it is best to start by stopping the car in a safe place and switching off the engine. Wait a few seconds and then try restarting the engine. If the parking brake light disappears, then it was a false alarm.

If the parking brake light is still on, it is best to check the brake fluid level. The brake fluid reservoir is usually under the bonnet on the driver's side. If the brake fluid level is well below the minimum level, it must be topped up immediately to ensure correct operation of the brake system.

After topping up, we recommend that you do not start immediately, but wait a few minutes with the engine running. This way we check for leaks in the system. If the brake fluid continues to leak, it will be necessary to go to the workshop immediately to have the fault repaired.

What do the ABS light and the handbrake on indicate?

In the worst case you have both the ABS and parking brake warning light on at the same time. After trying to turn the car off and on again and the lights stay on, it is best to come to a complete stop and call roadside assistance.

This is because the fault may cause difficulty braking the car or a problem with the brake calipers which may be partially locked. If the brake calipers become stuck, the car may be difficult to drive and it is not impossible to lose control.

Remember that brake pads should always be changed regularly. If the brake pads wear out, there is a risk of serious problems with the brake system and a brake warning light always comes on.

What colour is the handbrake warning light?

The parking brake warning light is red if it is represented by both the brake warning light and the P on the rim with brackets.

As it is a warning light on a car related to a serious problem you will never find it in yellow.

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