Brakes and Tires
Dashboard Lights and Gauges

ABS and handbrake light stay on permanently. Is this a damaged ECU or what?


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2006-03-20 04:12:48
2006-03-20 04:12:48

My dealer says the ABS modulator is bad. He is ordering this $1100 part and it should fix the problems. Fortunately it is under warrenty. Without the fix, the ABS will not work.


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Either your handbrake switch is broken and will not turn off or you have low brake fluid.

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I am assuming you mean the dashboard handbrake warning light. On many modern cars, the handbrake warning light comes on when the brake fluid is low. The early indication of this is when the light comes on when going around a corner and then goes out once you straighten up. If the fluid gets really low the light will stay lit.

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The actual cause was a defective wheel speed sensor which when replaced reset the indicators.

Either the manual light switch is on or the door switch is damaged.

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sounds like brake fluid level is still too low or the switch on the handbrake is faulty causing the light to stay on. ----- It could also indicate that your rotors are wearing thin.

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It is probably the brake lights that are on due to a misinstalled or damaged brake light switch.

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Yes! I just discovered this for myself and am so relieved. Engine must be on and in park. Step 1: With handbrake on, pump brake pedal twice, then release handbrake. Step 2: Hold down brake pedal, pump handbrake twice, then release brake pedal. Step 3: With handbrake on, pump brake pedal twice, then release handbrake. Notice steps 1 and 3 are the same. The skid light will illuminate to confirm that it's been disabled. It will only stay disabled until the next start up. I got this info from so I have to give them credit. But I tried it just today and it works like a charm.

i asked the question but have since found out the problem, it turned out to be a low fluid level in the brake master cylinder. i found out by sideways banging to the brake foot pedal which made the warning light flicker which led me to believe something was amiss under the bonnet and connected to the brake pedal is the master cylinder !! silly old me. now iv`e got to find out where the fluid is going if it does. one does live and learn !!. so whilst the warning light serves the purose of letting you know the handbrake is still on it also is telling you the brake fluid is low. my clio (19995) is an automatic.

== == There is a nice possibility that one of the sensors have been damaged. perhaps you only jammed switch

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When you open your door there is a button that is spring loaded and pops out to turn the light on. When you close the door it pushes the button in to turn it off.If that button is stuck or damaged it will stay on . or If a wire is pinched it will ground out causing the light to stay on. Or you have a switch that dials up the dashboard lights from dim to high , If you roll that button past high it turns on the light . Roll it back and you will feel it click and your light will turn off.

Could be several reasons but the most common would be a faulty wheel speed sensor or damaged wiring.

If the handbrake light stays on when handbrake is off the easiest thing to check first is the brake fluid level. The light was on for a month on my '96 Corolla before I noticed the low brake fluid level. After topping the fluid up the light no longer came on while driving. Note that you should only use freshly opened brake fluid - stuff that has been open for a while will have absorbed moisture from the air reducing its effectiveness. If the brake fluid level is OK then the handbrake cable probably needs adjusting (probably loosening) so the light does not come on too soon, or stay on when it shouldn't. Another possibility is the parking brake engagement sensor, a mechanical switch that is engaged when the parking brake lever is activated. It may have gotten stuck in the on position and need to be cleaned or replaced.

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