Service Brake Assist (Meaning, Causes & Fixes)

Did you notice the service brake assist message on your vehicle’s dashboard?

Due to recent breakthroughs in modern technology, we can drive more safely and avoid any accidents while driving. This level of safety is possible due to the Brake Assist system.

If you see the service brake assist message, something is wrong with the brake assist system that needs immediate attention.

This article will explain what the service brake assist light means, why it came up, how to fix it, and lots more.

Let’s get started

Almost every automotive has a brake assist system. It’s a wired circuit that connects a sensor to the vehicle’s primary control board or simply its brainbox.

The service brake assist indicator would only come “on” when the computer detects a braking system failure, a damaged sensor, or a bad system component. At the same time, it could be a car electrical problem.

Nevertheless, it signifies that you should have your brakes checked out by a professional. Using a code reader is a quick and reliable method for detecting the problem with your brake assist system.

Seeing the service brake assist warning light can be frightening. Still, It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, as sometimes, it could mean that your vehicle’s emergency braking system has to be repaired, and other times, it might just be a system glitch.

The sensor failure is undoubtedly the most common reason for the service brake assist light turning on.

When it’s a sensor failure, the solution would be as simple as purchasing a new sensor and installing it properly, and you can do this yourself.

You’d get some grease on yourself at most and save heavily instead of going to a mechanic and having it done for probably $50-100.

Nevertheless, taking it to a vehicle mechanic from time to time can be beneficial since they can identify potential maintenance concerns which are easily correctable before they become a larger and more expensive problem.

Also Read: Service AdvanceTrac (Meaning, Causes & Fix)

Why Does the Service Brake Assist Light Come On?

Why Does the Service Brake Assist Light Come On

The service brake assist light comes on when there is an issue with your emergency brake assist system.

But in some cases, the fault may not be severe, and other times, it would require your immediate attention. Here are some issues which cause the service break assist indicator to come on:

Serious issues

  1. ABS malfunction
  2. A leak in lines (in air brakes)
  3. Low fluid

Nonserious issues

  1. Light malfunction
  2. Grounding issue
  3. Sensor malfunction
  4. Odometer malfunction

Undoubtedly, all vehicle faults are meant to be checked as a failure to do so, in the long run, would significantly affect the vehicle’s performance in braking or, worse, routine operations.

In other words, leaving faults unchecked in your car isn’t exceptionally safe for you.

The nonserious issues won’t result in any damage in the long run, but they still have to be checked as you never know when it could escalate.

But, again, having them checked in rare cases could help you detect an even more significant threat in your vehicle, so you probably should leave no stone unturned to be on the safe side.

Driving is an essential routine that we engage in as part of our daily life, and if something goes wrong with your car unexpectedly, it could be very frustrating, and I can tell that no one wants to deal with a sudden vehicle breakdown.

But, on the other hand, you never know where you’ll be when it happens. So performing routine maintenance checks on your vehicle could save you a deal of time and cost.

If you do these regular checks on your car, you would most likely understand what service break assist means, and it could help to have a code reader and an emergency kit as you never know when you will come across an emergency.

In addition, everyone behind the steering has a chance of being in an accident, and having some of these tools would potentially reduce our chances of being in one.

What Is Brake Assist

Service Brake Assist

In emergencies, the brake assist system compensates for a driver’s inability to apply the right amounts of force and pressure to the brake pedals.

The driver, in most cases, may not be able to brake correctly due to panic, which is where the brake assist becomes engaged.

The brake assist is used to reduce the time taken for the car to come to a complete stop in emergencies.

A vehicle without brake assist in comparison to one with brake assist would take a longer time to go to a full stop, and this difference is crucial when it comes to emergencies.

Many drivers have suffered collisions, injuries, accidents, and even deaths because they could not fully apply the brakes.

This outstanding flaw was noticed in 1996 by the automobile titans ànd; hence, Mercedes-Benz developed the brake assist system. Mercedes-Benz spearheaded this in partnership with LucasVarity, an auto components supplier,

The brake assists feature Mercedes-Benz used the device in their S and SL Class models to help drivers stop their vehicles quickly.

Many vehicles now incorporate brake assist and anti-lock braking systems to function together to increase braking efficiency.

Combining both systems helps drivers with emergency stops and also performs the function of keeping your wheels from locking up. This feature is helpful in a variety of situations.

Also Read: Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off? (Causes & How to Fix)

What Are the Different Types of Brake Assist Systems?

There are majorly two types of braking assist systems. The first type is the mechanical brake assist, whereas the second and more modern kind is the electronic brake assist.

How Does Mechanical Brake Assist Work?

Initially, the brake assist systems were mechanical. There were no electrical connections or sensors to monitor how hard and fast the brake pedal was applied in previous years.

Mechanical characteristics control mechanical brake assist. Before the brake assist engages, the driver must push the brake pedal to a specific position. Then, a locking mechanism directs braking power to the brake booster.

The mechanical brake assist operation is simple and based on :

  • Braking Pressure
  • Braking Speed

These two factors determine whether to activate brake assist or not.

In an emergency, braking pressure must exceed a threshold to activate brake assist.

When the pressure and braking speed exceed their respective thresholds while applying the brakes, all the brake pressure and velocity are redirected towards the brake assist system.

As a result, the standard piston within your car’s brakes will not receive any pressure. Instead, the mechanical brake assist system will support your car’s brakes.

How Does Electronic Brake Assist Work?

An electronic control unit is used in the electronic brake assist system. The electronic control unit senses an emergency when the driver applies the brake pedal with a specified speed and force.

As a result, the unit increases braking power, slowing the vehicle even more. What makes the electronic brake assist system different from the mechanical brake assist system is that this brake assist technology also adjusts and remembers the driver’s braking patterns

The system is reprogrammed to match the driver’s regular force and pace of foot pressing. As a result, the driver’s brake application pattern does a better job activating the brake assist system when needed in an emergency.

There are two kinds of electronic brake assist systems which are;

  • Active Brake Assist
  • Adaptive Brake Assist

The adaptive brake assist feature is an advanced version that memorizes the driver’s behavior and pattern. The active brake assist is the most advanced version of the electronic brake assist.

The dynamic brake assist uses ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) radar sensor to detect what’s coming in front. You can also get visual and audio warnings in some cars.

Are Brake Assist & Anti-lock Braking System (Abs) The Same?

Anti-lock Braking System

The brake assist and anti-lock braking systems are not identical. Still, they work hand in hand to improve the overall driving experience.

For example, the anti-lock braking system maintains wheel traction and prevents skidding or sliding of wheels. This feature allows your vehicle to stop more quickly when applied brakes.

In addition, if something unexpected happens while you apply the brakes, the joint effort of both brake assist and anti-lock braking system provides more control resulting in a smoother and safer stop.

Brake assist is a system that kicks in as soon as you step on the brake pedals, helping you in braking swiftly.

It usually remembers your braking patterns in different situations and automatically kicks in when an emergency is detected.

Unfortunately, the brake assist has but a demerit as it won’t perform as expected if you apply the brakes late. However, with the recent breakthroughs in auto mechanics, this feature will be possible as braking systems will include automatic braking soon.

Also Read: What Is ABS Sensor & Why ABS Sensor Light Comes On?

How To Troubleshoot Brake Assist Unit?

Troubleshooting the brake assist system is easy. You need to follow a few steps.

First, switch off the engine and step on the brake pedal slowly. Initially, you wouldn’t feel much fluid resistance as the pressure in the cylinder is low.

However, as you continue stepping on the brakes, the opposition would gradually increase with each step, indicating that the brake line has no leaks.

Therefore, if your service brake assists light continues to warn you about your brake assist unit, the problem must be a sensor or electrically related.

How to Fix Service Brake Assist?

If your car is displaying the service brake assist warning, you should take action to solve that. First, however, it’s better to consult with an automobile engineer who has sound knowledge about modern electronic car systems.

If you think that the brake assist sensor has failed, you might have to replace it. Moreover, you can buy and replace a brake assist sensor and save money.

Check out this video for more tips on how to fix the service brake assist light

Is It Safe to Drive With a Service Brake Assist Warning?

It’s not safe to drive with a service brake assist warning light, but you should drive safely and carefully when the Service Brake Assist light comes up.

If your Service Brake Assist light is illuminated, it signifies your brake assist system needs to be examined and may not be working correctly.

Any fault within your brake assist unit could, whether severe or not, can cause your brake system to freeze up when you brake forcefully, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.

When you notice the Service Brake Assist light on, It is recommended to have your brake assist system inspected as soon as possible. Sometimes the problem can be fixed by simply replacing a sensor or replenishing your braking fluid.

This inspection is a wise way to ensure your car from further damage, as resolving a slight problem with your brake assist could help prevent massive stress soon.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Service Brake Assist Light?

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Service Brake Assist

Many factors determine the cost of servicing the brake assist unit. For example, a mechanic will charge $100 or more to replace a sensor.

However, if you can purchase the sensor yourself, you can replace it yourself for a far lesser cost if you have some technical knowledge.

However, taking your car to a technician can be beneficial since they can notice potential maintenance concerns that should get fixed before they become a more significant and expensive problem.

Be careful about approving any repair or procedure your mechanic suggests; they can save you much money, but they can also offer pointless repairs.

Can You Turn off Brake Assist?

In Most cars, the Brake Assist is permanently active. The reason behind such default settings by manufacturers is that it can be challenging to control the car manually in some driving scenarios that may arise unexpectedly.

To ensure this manufacturer’s default setting is not tampered with, the user cannot disable it without voiding the warranty on the vehicle.

Besides, it is not advisable to turn off your brake assist for safety reasons because it can lead to several additional issues, including an accident.

However, if you still insist, some cars include a fuse that can disable brake assist, and disconnecting the brake assist fuse will disable the brake assist system in the vehicle.

Also Read: Service Power Steering Light (Meaning, Causes & Fix)

Frequently Asked Questions – Service Brake Assist

How Do You Reset Service Brake Assist?

One of the easiest ways of resetting your “service brake assist light is to reset the electricity flowing through your car’s central computer. First, disconnect your car’s positive battery cable/terminal and press down on the brake pedal until the car’s electrical system is completely disconnected. This action will reset the electric current flow within the car’s computer, and the indicator light will turn off.

How Much Does It Cost to Service Brake Assist?

The cost of Servicing your brake assist could range from $325 to $1250. Labor prices vary from $100 to $200, and other components within the brake system might cost $100 to $900. The cost is determined by the model of your car and the labor rates of the technician.

Can Worn-Out Brake Pads Make the Brake Assist Light Come On?

When your brake pads need replacement, your service brake system light may illuminate, depending on your automobile’s make, model, and year. However, your car may not alert you to the need for new brake pads with a light, as it does with brake fluid contamination.

Why Does the Brake Assist Light Come On?

The brake assist light indicates that there might be an issue with your Anti-Lock Braking System or your regular service braking system. Low levels of brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir or ABS reservoir can also cause this light to appear.

Is It Safe to Be Driving With the Brake Assist Light Activated?

It is risky to drive while the Brake Warning Light is illuminated. It indicates that your brakes are malfunctioning and should be serviced as soon as possible.

Is Brake Assist Safe?

Brake assist is a sophisticated safety device becoming increasingly widespread in modern car models, including family vehicles. Brake assist systems, in summary, are safe. However, the increase in braking power might make the driver’s stop so sudden and jumpy.

Does Brake Assist Stop the Car?

Yes! Brake Assist provides your car with more braking power during emergency stops. However, drivers’ reaction times do not necessarily correspond to how rapidly they must react to avoid a collision.

What Is the Advantage of Brake Assist?

Brake Assist measures how quickly the brake pedal is applied and is sensitive enough to determine the driver’s intention to conduct an emergency stop. For example, suppose it decides that the condition needs an emergency stop and the pedal is not fully pressurized. In that case, the hydraulic pressure in the brake system will be automatically increased to close the distance as much as possible.

How Does Using Brake Assist Feel to the Driver?

When the brake assist feature of a car is turned on, there is no significant difference from braking normally, but if you are observant, you will notice a shorter halting distance as the brakes are applied. However, most drivers will never no the slight change in the space because, during an emergency stop, the driver would slam on the brakes as hard as possible, making it difficult to see if the brake assist was working.

Conclusion – Service Brake Assist

When the service Brake Assist light comes on, it usually signifies that a component of your brake system has a failure. A service brake assist light is standard on most vehicles. This warning is typically a sign that the brake system has a fault.

Everyone drives from time to time. However, driving can become a burden when complicated issues arise on the road .having a fully functioning car is more profitable when such complex problems arise. For this reason,

staying ahead of your vehicle and understanding what it’s telling you can save you time and money.

The brake assist is one of the few features of your car that has to be in good working order when a complicated case of stopping suddenly to avoid an accident arises. Moreover, the brake assist system boosts the performance of your brakes in terms of how quickly your car stops.

It is paramount that you comprehend what service brake assist in your vehicle entails. Having a code reader and a basic emergency kit in your car will come in handy when you need them.

We are all at risk of being involved in an accident, and we don’t want to increase our chances.

When your service brake assists light illuminates, please don’t ignore it. Instead, check it out as quickly as possible.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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