A service brake assist light can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be. It simply means your car’s emergency braking system is in need of service.
Is Brake Assist The Same As ABS?
No. ABS and Brake Assist are designed to minimize braking distance., Tough Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is a braking system designed to maintain maximum traction by forcing the wheels to continue to turn no matter how hard the driver pushes on the brakes.
ABS is designed to not break traction (no pun intended). This provides the shortest stopping distance compared if you slam on the brakes and the wheels lock up skidding to a stop. But by slowly letting the wheels rotate while stopping traction is maintained and stopping is quicker.
Also, you have more control in case of anything else happening during your heroic stop.
Brake Assist a system that can be added with ABS. Once you start slamming on the brakes Brake Assist kicks in and helps you to brake quickly. It learns how you brake and once it feels you are in an emergency by how sudden you brake it will engage.
The downside with Brake Assist is that if you are late to slam on the brakes then it does you no good. You have to hit the brakes hard to signal for Brake Assist to help out.
Can You Turn Off Brake Assist?
No. Most cars do not let you disable Brake Assist. It can be hard to manage in certain driving situations but overall Brake Assist is loved by car manufacturers and they do not let the driver disable this option without any customizations that void the warranty.
There is a hack, though. It is not recommended as it can cause a host of other problems and it can even cause an accident. I do not recommend doing this at all but some cars have a fuse that can disable brake assist and removing the brake assist fuse will disable it.
Please don’t do this.
What Does It Mean When The Brake Assist Light Comes On?
When a Brake Assist light comes on it usually means there is a sensor failure with your brakes. Most cars are equipped with a brake service light. It is a wired circuit that connects a sensor to the car’s brain or computer.
If the sensor fails or detects a failure or damaged portion of the brake system it will notify the car’s computer and your brake service light will turn on warning you to have your brakes looked at by a mechanic. The good thing is that usually, you can hook up a
code reader and find out the issue almost immediately.
Most times it is a sensor failure. They are straightforward and easy to replace. Go to a mechanic and replace it for maybe $50-100 or buy the sensor yourself, get a little greasy, and save almost all your money.
Is It Safe To Drive With ABS And Traction Light On?
It is not ideal but you can drive moderately safely with the ABS and traction lights on.
If your ABS light is on that means your ABS needs to be looked at and may not be functioning correctly. This could mean your brake system can lock up when braking hard and you have the chance to lose control. Driving in normal conditions shouldn’t be an issue, though who can predict when a close call can occur?
I personally recommend getting your anti-lock brake system looked at immediately when you notice the ABS light is turned on. Sometimes it is as easy as replacing a sensor or topping up your fluid. Other times the system is damaged and you need to have a professional fix it.
This is cheap insurance i.e. fixing a small (cheap) issue with your ABS could prevent a huge (expensive) issue in the future.
If the traction light is on that could mean you have disabled your traction control. Usually, there are no warning lights for specific traction control. This would read with another warning light in most cars. Check your owner’s manual to make sure what the traction control light is designed to alert you in your car.
If you do have a traction control light and it is turned on and you have not disengaged it previously then I would use a code reader and find out what the issue is (sensor failure once again) or have a mechanic inspect it and find out the issue ASAP. There could be instances where your vehicle control system could be failing and it could cause you to lose control of your car.
What Does Service Brake Assist System Mean?
The service brake assist cost depends on more than one factor. The most common is sensor failure. Replacing a sensor at a mechanics’ will cost $100 and up. You can buy a sensor and change it yourself for much less if you are able.
Taking it to a mechanic can be great every once in a while as they can spot potential maintenance issues that you can have taken care of before they can turn into a larger and more expensive issue.
Of course do your due diligence before giving the ok to any repair or procedure your mechanic suggests as they can save you a lot of money, though, they can also suggest meaningless repairs as well.
What Does It Mean When Your Truck Says Service Brake System?
When your truck’s Service Brake System light turns on you know you have an issue. But is it a serious issue? Well, you never know until you check it out. The most common causes are:
- Low fluid
- A leak in lines (in air brakes)
- ABS malfunction
- Sensor malfunction
- Light malfunction
- Mileage inspection indication
- Grounding issue
The serious issues should be addressed immediately, obviously, as they can severely impair the vehicle’s chances of stopping or operating as intended and can lead to an accident and/or injury.
READ MORE: WHAT IS A BULL BAR? A BRUSH GUARD?
The nonserious issues are ones that should not affect anything except for an annoying light on your dash that can bug you. It should be addressed but you have more time to deal with it. Just don’t wait too long as it could be the “boy who cried wolf” and cover a serious issue that CAN do some serious damage.
Driving is a part of life and it is something we all do on a daily basis. When something goes wrong it makes life difficult. Nobody wants these problems. But staying on top of your vehicle and understanding what it is telling you can save you a lot of time and money.
You are going to understand your car’s Service Brake Assist meaning because you are on top of it. Having a code reader and a minimal emergency kit for your car will help you when you need them the most. We all have the chance to get in an accident and we don’t want to increase those odds.
When your Service Brake Assist light comes on don’t ignore it. Check it out and forget about it so you can go back to life as you know it.
Thanks for reading and stay dirty.