What is the Parking Brake Warning Switch all about?
Your vehicle has two braking systems onboard – the primary braking system is responsible for slowing down the car when you press the brake pedal, and the secondary braking system is designed to activate when you engage the emergency brake. Depending on the make and model you drive, your emergency brake might be activated via a handle between the two front seats, or it could be activated with a pedal under the dash (to the left of the brake pedal).
In both instances, activating the pedal or handle engages the emergency brake. This prevents your car from rolling if you park on a hill, and it takes the load off your transmission at the same time. When you engage the emergency brake, it activates a switch, which turns on a light in the dash warning you that the e-brake is on.
Over time (though rare), either the parking brake warning light switch or the bulb in the dash can fail. While your emergency brake will still work, it’s tough to tell when it’s engaged or not, particularly if you have the pedal-activated system.
Keep in mind:
- Your parking brake warning light switch is not inspected during any maintenance or service.
- The switch can fail due to many reasons, including electrical failure, wiring problems and more.
How it's done:
- The hood release handle and dash panels are removed for access. The parking brake warning switch is disconnected.
- The parking brake is pushed down and the defective parking brake warning switch is unbolted from the bracket.
- The new parking brake warning switch is installed, connected, and then the brake is released.
- The dash panels and the hood release handle are reinstalled.
- The vehicle parking brake switch is checked for proper operation.
Your emergency brake is an important safety component on your vehicle. While not having a notification won’t impede your driving, you may unintentionally drive with the e-brake engaged, which will quickly wear out the brake. Have the switch and/or light serviced by one of our expert mechanics as soon as possible.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Parking Brake Warning Switch?
- Dash light does not turn on when engaging the emergency brake
- Dash light comes on intermittently when engaging the emergency brake
- The dash light stays on while parking brake is not engaged
How important is this service?
We recommend having the switch problem diagnosed as soon as possible. While it won’t endanger you on the road or prevent you from driving, there is the potential to cause damage to the emergency brake system by driving with the system on.