Brake lights are an essential part of any car. They let the drivers behind you know when you are slowing down, so they can adjust their driving accordingly. If your brake light starts flashing, it means that there is a problem with your car’s braking system.
The main and most common reason why your brake light is flashing is due to low brake fluid, and in most cases, it indicates a leak. If you spot brake light flashing, it’s important to have the braking system of your car inspected to determine whether it’s a leak and if proper repairs are done.
In this guide, I shall be examining some of the most common reasons why your brake light is flashing and possible fixes.
1. Parking Brake Is Engaged
Your car braking light on the dashboard will blink when the parking gear is engaged. The brake light on the dashboard is represented by a letter “P” but will show an exclamation mark in some other cars and reflect either yellow or red light.
You should consult the owner’s manual to determine what color and symbol your car illuminates when the parking brake is engaged.
When partially engaged, the hand brake will blink on the dashboard to let you know that you should disengage it. The light will go off when you disengage the parking brake.
If the light doesn’t go off after disengaging the parking brake, then it means that there’s something else wrong with your car’s braking system.
2. Low Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in brake systems. It helps transfer force from the brake pedal to the brake pads or shoes, which then apply pressure to the rotors or drums to stop the vehicle.
One of the more common reasons that a brake light may begin flashing is because the level of brake fluid in the reservoir is getting low.
If this is the case, you will likely see a warning light on your dash that looks like an exclamation point inside of a U-shaped bracket.
This is called a low brake warning light, and it’s designed to let you know when the fluid level has dropped below a certain point and needs to be replenished or when there’s a problem with the car braking system.
If your brake light is flashing and you also see this low brake fluid warning light, topping off the reservoir should take care of the problem. Just be sure to use fresh, clean brake fluid that meets or exceeds the specifications for your vehicle.
Signs of Low Brake Fluid
When your brake fluid is running low, it can cause some problems with your braking system. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Your brakes feel “spongy” when you press down on the pedal.
- It takes longer than usual for your car to stop when you brake.
- You hear a squealing noise when you brake.
3. Problem with ABS
The anti-lock brake system (ABS) is a safety feature that helps to prevent wheel lock-up and to skid while the vehicle is braking. The system works by Sensors at each wheel to monitor the speed of the wheel and send signals to the ABS controller.
If one or more wheels are about to lock up, the controller selectively applies the brakes to those wheels individually rather than applying them all at once. This keeps the wheels from locking up, allowing the driver to maintain steering control and avoid skidding.
Other signs of problem with ABS
- Strange noises coming from the brakes or a feeling of pulsation in the brake pedal when you apply the brakes.
- Another sign that your ABS may be failing is if your car starts to skid or slide when you brake hard.
4. Problem with the Bulbs
If your brake light is flashing, it could be a sign that there is a problem with the bulbs. If one of the bulbs has burned out, it can cause the other bulb to flash. In some cases, both bulbs may need to be replaced.
If the bulbs in your taillights are loose, they may make contact intermittently as you drive, causing the brake light to flash. Check to see if the bulbs in your taillights are screwed in tightly. If not, tighten them until they’re secure.
Another possibility is that there’s a problem with the socket that the bulb is screwed into. The socket may be corroded or loose, and making intermittent contact with the bulb. Inspect the sockets for corrosion or looseness, and clean or tight them as needed.
5. Faulty Brake Light Switch
The brake light switch is a device that is installed in a vehicle to activate the brake lights when the brakes are applied. This switch is usually located on the brake pedal or near the floorboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
If the switch is not working properly, it can cause the brake light to come on and off intermittently. This can be dangerous because it can make it difficult for other drivers to see your brake lights when they are supposed to.
6. Faulty In the Electrical Wiring
There are a number of reasons why corrosion can occur to a car electrical wiring. The most common cause is exposure to moisture, which can cause the metal wires to rust and break down over time.
Other causes of corrosion include exposure to chemicals or salt water, and damage from rodents or other animals. In some cases, corrosion can also be caused by a manufacturing defect in the wire itself.
If you have a loose wire, it will need to be tightened. If you have a broken wire, it will need to be repaired or replaced. If you have a corroded wire, it will need to be cleaned or replaced.
The problem may be located at the fuse box, at the brake light switch, or at another point in the wiring system.
7. Your Car Is Fitted With Blinking Brake Lights
Blinking brake lights are a safety feature on many modern vehicles. When the brakes are applied, the brake light will flash to warn drivers behind you that you are stopping.
This can help avoid rear-end collisions, which is an important safety feature. If your vehicle does not have this feature, you may want to consider adding it.
Some European car manufacturers like Volvo and Mercedes Benz have car models that come with brake lights that flash. These flashing lights help create a visual differentiation between an emergency full stop and slowing down.
However, these flashing lights are not to be confused with the dirty cheap ones that are designed like nightclub strobe lights. (Source)
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.