Brake Lamp Bulb Fault – Causes for This Ford Focus and Escape Warning Light

If you’re average, you will grow anxious each time a warning light on your dashboard turns on, especially if it’s the brake lamp, because it’s your brakes that keep you safe on the road. In this article, I’ll discuss brake lamp bulb fault – causes for this Ford Focus and Escape warning light.

The brake warning light will turn on when your Ford Focus or Escape braking system is experiencing a problem. This light is warning you of a situation in which you are compromising your safety on the road. You need to have it checked by a competent mechanic to fix whatever caused it to turn on.

The brake warning light usually comes on because of several things. One of the causes is a blown fuse of the brake light system. Another reason could be the brake light bulbs may have burned out. A third cause might be a damaged brake light wiring switch. Thankfully, these problems are easy to fix.

Read on to learn more about the causes of brake lamp bulb fault on your Ford Focus or Escape and their fixes.

Brake Lamp Bulb Fault Overview

brake lamp bulb fault

Braking System Needs Inspection

When you say Ford Focus brake lamp bulb fault, it means something is wrong with your Ford Focus’ or Fiesta’s braking system. If this light appears on your dash, it warns you that your car’s braking system needs to be checked to determine what’s causing it to turn on.

Possible Causes

What is causing this failure? There are several reasons for this situation. Perhaps one or more of your brake lights are malfunctioning. Or maybe the brake light wiring switch is damaged.

And then it is also possible that the brake light bulbs are burned out. Thankfully, all these issues are easy to troubleshoot and fix.

Is It Safe to Drive with an Active Brake Lamp Bulb Fault Warning?

Now, you may be wondering if it’s still safe for you to drive your car if it has this issue. It is not. Driving your vehicle with this warning light turned on is dangerous.

There is something that causes your braking system not to work correctly. It needs to be fixed before you can safely drive your car again.

The braking system dramatically increases the force when you step on the brake pedal. It uses a system of lines or tubes filled with hydraulic brake fluid.

The enhanced force activates a brake drum or grips the brake discs that transform the kinetic energy of your vehicle to heat. This is what slows down your car.

It is possible that your brakes have not entirely failed when the warning light appears on your dash. But it is better to be cautious than to suffer the adverse consequences. You should be aware that this warning light can turn on whether the issue is severe or not.

What you need to do when this light turns on is to stop your vehicle and park it in a safe place. Then call for help. It is better to assume that the issue is serious than to continue driving and having an accident later.

What Causes the Brake Lamp Bulb Fault?

You will be less anxious when the brake lamp suddenly appears on your dash if you know the different causes that can trigger it.

Here are some of the most common causes why this light will illuminate your dash:

1. Blown Fuse

The brake warning light will also appear on your dash because of a blown fuse. This is the most likely situation if all the brake lights are ok, but the warning light still appears on your dash. You need to check the fuse to see if it is still functioning.

This fuse is usually located in the fuse box, together with the other fuses of your car’s other electrical devices. You will find that particular fuse by referring to the diagram on the inside cover of the fuse box.

Once you find the brake light fuse, test it for its continuity. If there’s no continuity, it is already blown. Replace it with a similar fuse, and the brake warning light will reset.

2. Low Brake Fluid Level

Your car’s brake fluid reservoir is usually on top of the master cylinder. It uses a sensor that activates the warning light when the level of the fluid inside it is getting too low.

If the brake fluid is low, it indicates a leak in the brake lines. Your brake efficiency will be reduced drastically if your car has this problem.

3. ABS Problem

Your car uses the ABS or anti-lock braking system. This system has a warning light on your dash. But since the function of the ABS is closely related to those of your brakes, there will be times when issues with the ABS will also activate the brake warning light.

To isolate the real issue, you need your ABS and braking system checked by a qualified mechanic.

4. Still Activated Emergency Brake

If a Ford Focus or Ford Escape is using the regular emergency brake lever or pedal E-brake, the warning light will appear on the dash if the driver had not released it entirely when they started to drive the vehicle. To reset the warning light, release the emergency completely.

You won’t have this problem driving a more modern car. Most late model cars are equipped with emergency parking brakes that will produce beeping sounds when the driver forgets to de-activate them when they start to drive.

5. Burned Out Brake Light Bulb

Every time you step on the brakes, the lights will turn on. Imagine how often these lights turn on and off since you started driving your Ford Focus or Ford Escape.

These bulbs have their expected life spans. Beyond that, they will start to deteriorate and eventually burn out. Due to this problem, newer car models have switched to LED bulbs that last much longer than standard bulbs.

So, if the brake warning light of your Ford turns on, perhaps the old brake bulbs have already reached the end of their lives.

6. Malfunctioning Sensor

Your car’s braking system uses several sensors that monitor the e-brake position, the brake pad life, the level of the brake fluid, and many more. If one of these sensors fails, it will trigger the brake warning light.

To determine if this is the real cause of the issue, you need to have your car checked by a competent mechanic.

7. Damaged Bulb Socket

If the brake warning light appears on your dash and you discover that it is the fault of just one bulb and yet the bulb is still ok, the real culprit is the bulb socket. Maybe that socked is no longer working.

A bulb socket can fail if it is already corroded or dirt has already accumulated inside it. When this happens, it will not provide the continuity for the electric current to flow.

So, even if it is still ok, the bulb will not turn on. The brake warning light will disappear on your dash when you replace the bad socket.

8. Overused Brake Pads

Worn-out brake pads can also trigger the brake warning light on your dash. However, this issue will only show up on your dash if your car is equipped with sensors that monitor the wear level of the brake pads.

Check the brake pads if your Ford Focus or Ford Escape has this feature. If they are already worn out, replace them, and the brake warning light will be reset.

9. Damaged Brake Light Switch

When you step on the brakes, your action triggers a switch that causes the brake lights at the rear of your car to turn on. If your vehicle is equipped with analog switches, they will wear out eventually.

So, if the brake warning light turns on, ask a competent mechanic to check the brake switch. If it is already broken, have it replaced with a fresh one. Hopefully, this resets the brake warning light.

Again, what does a “Brake lamp bulb fault” warning message mean? When you see the “Brake lamp bulb fault” on your dash, your car has a faulty wiring, fuse, or module, damaged brake lamp bulb, damaged brake light switch, or low brake fluid level.

How to Fix Brake Warning Light Issues

brake lamp bulb fault meaning

As I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article, fixing brake warning light problems of Ford Focus and Ford Escape vehicles is relatively easy because most components are easily accessible.

For instance, if the reason is a blown fuse, you need to isolate it and replace it with a new fuse of similar specs. If a low brake fluid level causes the problem, you only have to top up the brake fluid level and fix the problem.

However, there are problems that a professional mechanic better handles. Here are some of these problems and their fixes:

1. Release the Parking Brake

If a parking brake problem causes the issue, the fix will depend on the type of parking brake installed in your Ford Focus or Escape. If it’s just a simple mistake of leaving the parking brake engaged, then just releasing the parking brake will reset the warning light.

However, if a malfunctioning parking brake causes it, then you have to ask a qualified mechanic to examine it so they can determine the real issue. Perhaps the parking brake cable is loose or is no longer working anymore. If that’s the case, the broken part must be replaced.

2. Allow a Mechanic to Address the Sensor Problems

Parking brake sensors are sensitive components of your braking system. You should be very knowledgeable about them before you attempt to fix or replace them if they are damaged. These sensors trigger the brake warning light to alert you when your pads are getting too thin.

Typically, the sensors will activate the brake warning light when the thickness of the brake pads reaches their minimum levels. If these sensors are not functioning correctly, they won’t be able to give you this warning, or they may give you a false alarm.

Because of the sensitive nature of these sensors, you should only allow a qualified mechanic to take care of this problem.

How to Test Your Brake Lights

If you don’t want to be surprised needlessly by a brake warning light false alarm, there is one thing you can do to prevent it. To avoid experiencing a Ford Escape brake lamp bulb fault, you must periodically test your brake lights and warning system.

This is the best way you can avoid being startled by this issue. Two times a year of brake lights and ABS testing will be enough.

Do this testing, particularly before the coming of the winter months, where low light is most prevalent. Winter is the season when you need your brake lights working most efficiently.

Here’s a simple way of testing your brake lights:

  1. Ask a friend to stand behind your Ford Focus or Ford Escape.
  2. Then step on the brake pedal.
  3. Ask your friend to tell you if all the bulbs are working.
  4. Check all the brake lights in your car if they are all working. Your vehicle may have brake lights at the rear, at the center of the rear windshield, or in some rear part of your car. 

If you are alone, you can place a large mirror at the back of your car. Place the mirror where you can see it while sitting on the driver’s seat.

brake lamp bulb fault reset

Here are some answers to the most often asked questions about this topic. If this article has sparked questions in your mind, perhaps the answers listed below will give you the information you need:

What Do You Mean Brake Lamp Bulb Fault?

A brake lamp bulb fault is an issue with your car’s braking system. The brake warning light works similarly to the check engine light.

So, if this brake lamp light appears on your dash, it means there is a problem with the braking system of your Ford Escape or Ford Focus that you need to investigate.

Can I Still Drive My Ford Focus If This Warning Light Shows up on My Dash?

You need to have this issue checked first before driving your car. Remember, your braking system is the one that prevents you from getting involved in a car collision or from accidentally running over somebody.

There is no way for you to tell if the problem is severe or not. So, your best option is to have the issue examined. If there is a problem, fix it, and only then can you safely drive your car.

What Is the Cause of Brake Lamp Bulb Fault?

There is not just one cause of this problem, but several. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Blown brake warning light fuse
  • Low level of brake fluid
  • Issues with the ABS
  • Engaged emergency brake
  • Burned-out brake light bulb
  • Bad sensor
  • Broken bulb socket
  • Worn-out brake pads
  • Broken brake light switch

What Do I Do If the Brake Warning Light Suddenly Appears on My Dashboard?

It is no longer safe for you to drive your Ford Escape if this warning light shows up on your dash. You need to slow down and then find a safe place to park your car.

Then call for a car towing service so they can bring your vehicle to the nearest car service shop, where a competent mechanic can diagnose and recommend a fix to your problem.

Is It Possible for the Brake Warning Light to Appear, But My Braking System Is Working Fine?

Yes, that is possible. This can happen if the electrical components of the brake warning light, such as the switch, the bulb socket, or the brake light bulb itself, have failed. Anyone in these situations can trigger the brake warning light even if there is nothing wrong with your car’s braking system.

However, since you don’t know that, you still have to ask a qualified mechanic to diagnose the situation and recommend and perform the necessary fix before you can drive your car. It is better to err on the side of caution than keep driving your vehicle and reap the unwanted consequences.

In Closing

The brake warning light of your Ford Focus or Escape will turn on when there’s a problem with its braking system. This light tells you that your safety is compromised while driving.

You need to get your car examined by a competent car mechanic so they can find out what is causing this warning light to turn on.

There are several causes why your brake warning light turns on. One of the common causes is the brake light system fuse is blown. Another cause is burned-out brake light bulbs. A broken brake light wiring switch could also be the culprit. Fortunately, all these issues are easy to fix.