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Brake IP (i)(p) or (!)(p) indicator light What does it mean?

Question Posted Tuesday June 3 2008, 9:33 pm


A red light just appeared when I went to start my car. It says "Break IP". The brakes are acting really weird and I'm afraid to drive it. What does this light mean and what should I do to fix it? I have a Ford Taurus 99. Please help if you can!

Thanks! :)

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ThEDaRkEsTSiDe answered Sunday June 15 2008, 1:40 am:
This answer below is absolutley preposterous.. A light on your dashboard that has an explaination mark and a P ussually indicates an engaged Parking Brake. All it is, is a cable that helps to hold your car in place while you are parking, so the load isn't resting on the transmission. It's also known as the emergency brake, and can be used in desperate times to stop your car, although it locks the wheels and can be dangerous at high speeds. Most of the time to make this light go away, all you need to do is find a switch (ussually located underneath the dashboard in most vehicles) that says brake release. This will disengage the cable. When I first read this question, I didn't realize that there was an explaination mark in the first parenthisis, I thought it was an I, meaning another problem. Upon reading it more thoroughly, I realized that it in fact was an explaination mark. All it is is your parking brake. Hope I helped you out! Dave

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DangerNerd answered Wednesday June 4 2008, 10:10 pm:
Hello there,

First, a general rule of thumb regarding automotive brakes:

If the brakes feel funny, odd or in any way out of the ordinary... pull the car off the road immediately, and come to a stop. Doesn't matter where you are, really, as long as there is a place to pull off to the side. While doing so, be prepared to use your parking / emergency brake.

The reason for that rule is simply that brake failure very often gives VERY little warning it is about to happen. This means that the first sign of brake trouble should be taken VERY seriously, since you may not get another warning.

Now that we got that out of the way... :-)

The "I" you mentioned is actually an "!" unless you have a one of a kind Ford.

Think of the "!" as being interchangeable with "YIKES!"

You now have a car telling you that you have YIKES! problems with your brakes.

The odds are that this was triggered by the brake cylinder reservoir's low fluid indicator sensor.

That would mean that the fluid in your brake system went "someplace."

It is important to remember that the brake system is a "closed" system. What I mean by that is the fluid should stay at the same level. If it doesn't, then you have a leak someplace.

If enough fluid has leaked out to trip that sensor, you probably have air in the brake lines, which could very well be why they feel odd to you.

You could also have a leak in the power brake vacuum assist booster system. This might make the brakes feel like you have to press very hard to stop. It might also be accompanied by a loud hissing noise when you press down on, and or release the brake pedal.

I would not drive the car until you have this taken care of. A qualified mechanic, or a friend you would trust your life to (because this is what you are doing) will need to look into this for you.

If you are an active AAA member, they might cover having the vehicle towed to a shop of your choice. They may also recommend a shop.

Your insurance may also cover the towing bill, since this is a mechanical failure and, hence, a breakdown.

Whatever you do, remember that this is serious business. Brake failure is a terrible thing. I have lived through it, and strongly suggest you don't try your hand at it.

Please let me know in feedback, what the results of your brake inspection turn out to be.

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