Hand brake & run flat lights coming on intermittently - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2014, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question Hand brake & run flat lights coming on intermittently

Hi all,

Just got a 2001 mini, and already lights are coming on (this always happens to me!).

The handbrake light will come on while I'm driving, this issue comes and goes. Didn't happen at all yesterday when I drove, then today when I was headed home it came on. Got home, let it sit for a while, went back out, and lights never came back on. I've already checked the brake fluid which is fine. I had a look at the switch, it sometimes sticks when pushed in but that effects the light going off, not coming on. Couldn't see any other visual clues to why the light would be coming on.

Second thing is the run flat light. It pops on every time I drive for more than about 5 minutes. It's solid yellow, which I know means a malfunction, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. My google-fu is not working in this instance. I've tried resetting it about a billion times, but it still comes on every time I drive. If I stop the car, switch it off and back on, it does go out but comes back on after 5 minutes of driving.

I did take it to the garage last week because when I checked the tyre pressure that one was a bit low, and the tread wasn't looking great. They changed my bushings, replaced that tyre, and gave me an alignment. He said the light wasn't coming on anymore after that, but as soon as I drove it off, 5 minutes later it came on :/

Any ideas would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2014, 06:12 AM
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The wires from the reset switch which is on the console near the handbrake can get abraided and then caused an intermittent short through vibration or when operating the handbrake and it causes to light to come on, it might be worth checking the wires and connection to the switch under the console to make sure they arent damaged and connected securely, its been known to happen a few times and theres posts on here about that too. ?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2014, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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I had a look at lunch and it all seems ok, but I'm going to completely remove the middle console tonight so I can get a better look/more access. I was only removing the handbrake and sleeve to look before.

I may have figured out the handbrake light problem. It might be because the brake fluid service hadn't been reset (it just had new brakes and fluid replaced about a month ago, but they didn't reset the service). So that might be what was causing the low brake fluid light to come on after a time...it's a theory anyway. Though if it comes on when I'm driving home, I'm going to test the Handbrake switch to see if the light stays on with the switch disconnected to troubleshoot the switch vs electrical problem.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2014, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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I just took the centre console out when I got home. Both the handbrake light and the run flat lights were on at the time. I pulled out the connection from the handbrake switch and unfortunately the light stayed on, so I'm guessing it's not the switch. Was hoping it'd be something easy I could fix. I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the run flat as well and the light didn't go off for that one either. Guess I'll take it to the garage tomorrow and hopefully the bill won't be too painful. Thanks for the help.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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I'd guess an ABS sensor.... It's a photocell which senses wheel speed, if there's an imbalance between left and right, it gives a tyre pressure indication
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2014, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe so. I did manage to fix the handbrake light last night. Basically, it had a little too much brake fluid in it. I syphoned that out and drove around for about an hour last night, and the handbrake light never came back on, so I ended up not taking it to the garage. The run flat light can wait a bit, I only wanted to take it in if it was definitely a brake issue as those are certainly nothing to mess with.

I may take a look at the sensors this weekend and see if maybe they're just dirty, or if I might need to replace them. The only thing is I'm not getting the ABS light. I'd think if it was a sensor I'd get that warning light as well?
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