What Does Service Brake Assist Mean & How to Fix It?

Vehicle manufacturers have continued to upgrade the safety systems of their brands by introducing various features. The emergency brake assist is another vital safety system besides traction control, StabiliTrak, and the anti-lock braking system.

This braking system is designed to further improve the regular braking operation, especially during emergency cases.

Unfortunately, a malfunction in the system can trigger the dashboard’s service brake assist warning light. So, let’s find out the meaning of the feature and how to fix the service brake assist light whenever it shows up.

Read Also: Service Engine Soon Light: All That You Need To Know

What is Brake Assist?

emergency brake assist

Brake assist is a driver-assist safety feature that intervenes to help a car stop faster during emergency braking.

The system detects when a driver engages the car’s brake so hard without an appropriate braking response. So, it releases extra braking force to shorten the braking distance, thereby averting unexpected crashes.

This feature is found in most modern vehicles as part of the innovations to enhance their safety, especially during emergencies. However, some drivers complain about the brake assist performance and efficiency.

Some assert that the feature interferes with the regular braking system; others opine that the system makes it impossible to take full control of your car without unnecessary interruptions while on the road.

So, several car owners believe that it is best to disable the feature and enjoy regular driving with the normal braking system that lets you have full control. However, studies reveal that many road crashes have been averted by the brake assist system in recent times.

Therefore, understanding how the brake assist works will help you appreciate the feature better and influence what you think about its operations.

Read Also: Service Battery Charging System: Everything You Need To Know

How Brake Assist Works

The brake assist works by monitoring a driver’s regular driving style, especially the application of the brake system, thus releasing extra braking force once the sensor detects a sudden engagement of the brake pedal.

So, the system is designed to rescue the driver from the dangers of emergency braking without a proper response. This feature works in synergy with the anti-lock braking system to properly engage the brake in an emergency.

The brake assist system’s programming ability is a unique operation that enables it to study the driver’s behavior in engaging the brake. So, if it senses an irregularity in this operation, it will release more force to ensure effective braking and reduce the braking distance.

emergency brake assist system

What Does Service Brake Assist Mean?

The service brake assist light is one of the warning signals on the dashboard of most modern cars. Other brake system-related warning signals include the ABS light, service StabiliTrak light, etc.

You may come across this warning light at least once in your vehicle’s lifespan, especially if you drive a modern car fitted with electronic-assist features. Understanding the service brake assist message is as simple as ABC.

The service brake assist light means you have a malfunctioning brake sensor. It may also reveal insufficient pressure from the brake pedal to properly engage the braking system.

Kindly note that service brake assist in Equinox is the same as service brake assist in Chevy Tahoe. So, once you see this light, ensure to take immediate action to rectify the problem.

It is important to contact your breakdown service line if you’re experiencing this challenge at the moment. You may also want to consult the nearest expert auto mechanic to check out what could be wrong and fix the problem immediately.

Read Also: Service Advancetrac Warning Light – Meaning, Causes, & Fixes

Is Brake Assist The Same As ABS?

Brake assist is not the same as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System). However, they synergize to deliver optimum braking performance. The brake assist feature helps to deliver extra force to the brake pedal to enable it to press down to engage the brake in case of emergency.

Conversely, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps to maintain traction on your car’s tires while slowing down to a halt. This enables the driver to have good control over the steering wheel.

The ABS typically prevents your car’s wheels from experiencing a sudden lock-up while you carefully steer to find safety. So, while their operations are closely related, brake assist and anti-lock braking system features are two separate functions that jointly offer a safe driving experience.

How to Fix Service Brake Assist

Do not panic if your GMC service brake assist warning signal suddenly illuminates. However, ensure to implement any one or all of the following solutions recommended below.

service brake assist light

Reset the service brake assist light

Firstly, it is important to understand that sometimes dashboard lights can illuminate unnecessarily due to a slight malfunction in their connection. So, it is better to first find out how to reset the service brake assist light before anything else.

So, once you see the light, ensure to find a safe location to park and turn off the car’s engine. Then, remove the battery’s positive terminal cable. After that, get into the car and press down the brake pedal for a while until it exhausts the stored electricity.

Now, you can reconnect the battery cable and restart the car. Then, check to see whether it clears off the brake assist light.

Replace the brake boosters

Replacing the car’s brake boosters is another remedy to a service brake assist warning signal. These components cost around $100 – $150. Personally, fixing the component will help you save labor costs.

Meanwhile, if you’re unable to replace the components yourself, that will automatically result in extra labor costs of around $100 – $300. However, the parts and labor costs depend on the vehicle’s make and model. While some may be relatively cheap, others can be overly expensive.

Replace the bad brake sensor

A bad brake sensor is a major culprit of the service brake assist light illumination. So, if you have a bad brake sensor, you will also need to change that component to rectify the issue.

The brake sensor costs around $5 – $100, while the labor cost is estimated at between $70 and $100. If you’re a DIYer, the better for you because that will help you save some bucks (the labor cost).


Is brake assist important?

Of course, brake assist is very important. It saves a lot of drivers from road accidents every year. The brake assist system is designed to monitor a driver’s regular driving style in order to engage the brake properly in case of emergency braking.

The Chevy Silverado brake assist system prevents unexpected crashes by engaging the pedal to press down to the floor in a situation where you slam the brake suddenly.

Since it is sometimes easy to be distracted while on the road, using an emergency brake assist can help you stay out of trouble with unexpected crashes.

Is brake assist automatic braking?

Not necessarily! The brake assist is not an automatic (autonomous) braking system. This is because it still requires a human effort to help it engage the car’s brake effectively. However, it has a record of improving your car’s regular stopping distance by 20%.

Understanding how the brake assist system works will help you maximize its operations. It is not a collision-avoidance system, and neither is it a self-reliant braking system.

The driver’s role is to engage the brake pedal while the emergency brake assist system amplifies the brake system’s efficiency to overcome an imminent accident.

Can you turn off the brake assist?

Some modern vehicles allow the driver to take full control of their driving pattern; hence, they let you turn off some driver-assist features. However, you will have to take full responsibility for every operation of the vehicle, including avoiding unexpected accidents.

The brake assist system does not have a switch that lets you disable its operations. Since it plays a vital role in saving a driver from unexpected danger, manufacturers ensure that it remains active. However, it may likely hinder your car’s smooth driving to an extent.

So, you may have to disengage the brake assist fuse to disable it. Nevertheless, would you rather take full control of your safety or allow the system to protect you from unforeseen dangers?

How do you reset the service brake assist?

Resetting service brake assist is pretty straightforward. If you’re wondering how to turn off service brake assist, the following three-step procedure will help you reset your car’s service brake assist indicator:

  • Park properly and turn off the car.
  • Disconnect the cable on the battery’s positive terminal.
  • Press down the car’s brake pedal until the stored electricity exhausts completely.

Once you complete the process, the service brake assist light will go off automatically. Engaging in the procedures above can be extremely easy; hence, you may not need an auto mechanic to do the job. However, always be careful when performing a mechanical function in your car.

How much does it cost to service brake assist?

Servicing a car’s brake assist costs around $100 to $150, especially when you buy the brake boosters and do the job personally. However, the service cost can increase based on your vehicle’s make and model.

Meanwhile, changing the brake fluid and bleeding the brake may also be necessary while servicing your car’s brake assist system. This can further inflate the service brake assist cost. So, you may have to factor that into your budget for a perfect job.

However, if you’re not a DIYer or not sure of doing the job perfectly, ensure to consult an expert auto technician to do it.

What does a brake assist warning mean?

If you’re looking at your car’s dash, and you’re wondering, “What does it mean when it says service brake assist?” The message means you have a malfunctioning brake sensor; hence, the brake assist system cannot receive the appropriate signal to engage its operation.

Other times, it may signify that your car lacks sufficient brake pedal pressure for braking efficiency. Once the system detects these malfunctions, it triggers the brake assist warning light to communicate the problem to the driver for immediate action.

If you discover that your car’s brake assist warning light has been illuminated, kindly contact a professional auto mechanic ASAP. Driving with a malfunctioning brake assist system can be hazardous when you least expect it. So, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

What do you do if the brake assist light comes up on your vehicle?

Kindly contact your vehicle’s breakdown service immediately after the brake assist light comes up. Remember that prevention is cheaper and better than cure; hence, taking immediate precautions is best for you at this point.

The brake assist light is a sign that your car’s braking system is experiencing a fault, and this is not something to joke about. So, it would be best to find a safe place to park the car carefully and call your service expert to come to your rescue.

Can I drive with service brake assist?

No! It is not ideal nor safe to drive with your car’s service brake assist warning light on. In fact, it is a dangerous venture because you’ll be risking driving with either insufficient pressure from the brake pedal or a malfunctioning brake sensor.

Either of these malfunctions can be very risky because they control your car’s braking system. So, if you see that particular warning light at any point, make sure to park in a safe location and contact a professional auto mechanic to check out the problem immediately.

However, if you suspect a malfunctioning warning light, ensure to test the brake properly and reset the brake assist system for confirmation.

Final Words

The service brake assist warning signal is as important as any other warning light on your car’s dashboard. If you didn’t know much about this feature in your car, now you do. The truth is, everything you should know about the brake assist system has been explained here.

So, you must take immediate preventive measures to ensure that the system works perfectly without any glitches. However, if the warning light is already staring at you on your car’s dash, don’t panic. Simply implement the solutions provided in this article.

Learn More: 

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts