Brake Override Malfunction: Here Is How To Solve (Step by Step)

Brake Override Malfunction

The brake override can be an absolute lifesaver. In fact, we have no doubt that it has saved countless lives before.

However, as with most systems in your vehicle, it is also prone to breaking down, hopefully not when you need to rely on it the most!

On this page, we are going to give you a little bit of information about how to deal with brake override malfunctions in your vehicle.

Although do bear in mind that the vast majority of issues with your vehicle should probably be dealt with by a mechanic. There is only so much that you are able to do yourself.

What Is a Brake Override Malfunction?

The job of the brake override is to slow down your vehicle properly in certain situations. A brake override can help to prevent accidents from occurring.

The brake override can also have an impact on when your vehicle releases the airbags in the event of an accident. All in all, it is a pretty important system.

When you have a brake override malfunction, none of those systems will work. Your vehicle will still work, but you are going to be missing out on some seriously important safety features in your vehicle.

How Do You Know That You Have a Brake Override Malfunction?

Hopefully, not when you are about to get into an accident.

Most vehicles will be constantly keeping tabs on the brake override function and, if you do have an issue, then it will be highlighted on your vehicle’s dashboard.

If your vehicle is a little bit older, then you may get nothing more than a ‘check engine light, which can be somewhat annoying as that doesn’t specifically tell you that you have a brake override malfunction.

in that case, you will either need to do a bit of light diagnostics yourself or, better yet, take your vehicle to a mechanic to get repaired.

Do You Need To Fix a Brake Override Malfunction Quickly?

Yes. Your vehicle is going to work without the brake override functioning. However, you probably don’t want to be driving it around for too long.

We genuinely cannot express just how important that brake override is when it comes to vehicle safety. If it is not functioning, you are putting your life on the line every time that you step into that vehicle.

As with most brake issues, we recommend that you stop absolutely everything that you are doing and get that vehicle issue dealt with right away.

Over the following sections, we will talk a little bit about what could potentially cause a brake override malfunction, and we will give you some tips on dealing with the problem.

Can You Fix a Brake Override Malfunction Yourself?

You will be able to fix some of the issues yourself. However, most brake override issues will be down to various sensors in your vehicle.

You are not going to be able to fix those, which means that, in most cases, you don’t have much of a choice other than to head to a mechanic or, preferably, a dealership that deals with your specific vehicle model.

Still, there are some solutions that you will be able to use to deal with some minor issues. Let’s go through them.

Turn The Brake Override System Off

This is not something that we would really advocate. You are really just ‘patching’ the problem and not fixing it.

Still, if you promise us that you will take your vehicle in for repair soon, then you can turn the brake override system off in all vehicles. However, how you do this is going to be completely dependent on the vehicle that you own.

You are going to need to look through your vehicle’s manual to know for sure.  However, it is normally going to involve you pressing a combination of the brake and the gas pedal for a certain period of time.

Remember, if you do turn off the brake override system, your vehicle will be lacking a very important safety feature, and this is going to be putting your life on the line.

This is why we are not strong advocates for this method.

Ensure That Your Feet Are Not On Both Pedals At Once

Sometimes, the brake override malfunction isn’t a malfunction at all. If it is due to poor driving (no offense on that part!). 

If you are driving your vehicle and you press both the gas and the brake at once, then it is likely to cause a malfunction in the brake override system.

Don’t do that, and you should be fine!

Change The Battery On Your Key Fob

If you have a key fob that starts the vehicle, even when you leave it in your pocket, then swap the battery out.

A lot of people have noted that their brake override stops working properly when the battery on their key fob dies.

Luckily, with most vehicles, it should only take a few minutes to switch the batteries out (assuming that you already have a spare handy)

Reset The Vehicle 

The last thing that you do before you hobble off to a mechanic is to give your vehicle a reset. 

While most vehicles will have their own reset process, there is only one way that you can guarantee will work for every vehicle. This is to disconnect the battery terminals for about fifteen minutes or so.

By disconnecting the battery, all of the power in your vehicle will drain away. This means that there will be nothing left to power the electrical systems.

When you plug that battery back in, the entire system will reset.

This is actually a solution that you will be able to use to fix most electrical systems in your vehicle. Not just the brake override system.

At the same time, you may also want to check that your vehicle’s battery is working properly. If it isn’t, then take the time to replace it.

Issues That Will Require a Mechanic

As we said a bit earlier, almost every single problem that you will be dealing with when it comes to a brake override malfunction cannot be fixed by yourself. You will need to get in touch with a mechanic. 

Sadly, the only way to tell what component is at fault is to run a diagnostic on your vehicle’s computer. For this, you will need an OBD2 scanner.

By scanning the vehicle’s computer, you will get an error code. This error code will tell you the exact issue.

While you can purchase an OBD2 scanner and work out the problem yourself, you still won’t be able to fix it, so it is best just to get in touch with an experienced mechanic who can. 

Faulty Brake Pressure Sensor

This is probably the main reason why people have a brake override malfunction.

There are a variety of sensors in your vehicle that will detect how hard you are pressing the brakes.

Obviously, if the vehicle detects the wrong amount of pressure, it could inadvertently be triggering the brake override system.

You should be able to deal with some of these issues yourself by resetting the vehicle’s electrical system. However, in some cases, the sensors will need to be swapped out. 

Faulty ABS Module

If you are noticing the ABS light coming on your vehicle more often than not (especially when you are not pushing the brake), or the brake feels a little bit spongy, then chances are that you have a faulty ABS module in your vehicle.

Once again, this is an issue that will require a trained mechanic to deal with. They are going to need to swap out that ABS module and get a new one up and running for you.

Faulty Airbag Sensor 

As we mentioned previously, your vehicle’s airbag is going to be tied pretty heavily to your brake override system. If the airbag sensor stops working, the brake override system will stop working.

This means that, in many cases, the issue isn’t actually going to be with the brake override system. Instead, it is going to be your airbags.

This is an issue that you will only be able to work out with some proper vehicle diagnostics. 

How “brake override” stops runaway cars >> Check out the video below:


A brake override malfunction is never a good thing. It means that when you are driving your vehicle, you are going to be missing out on a pretty important safety feature.

It is a problem that you will need to get fixed almost immediately.

The problem is that there isn’t a whole lot that you will be able to do to fix the issue yourself. While you can reset the brake override system, or turn it off completely, most issues are probably going to be down to faulty sensors in your vehicle. The only way that those faulty sensors can be dealt with is by a professional mechanic.

They will be able to swap out the sensors and, hopefully, this will get the brake override system back up and running again. 


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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