Updated at: 03-08-2023 - By: Lucas

Using flashing brake lights can be dangerous because of the dangers they pose to other drivers. Our Subaru Outback flashing brake light guide will walk you through the probable causes and solutions for the most prevalent five reasons for this problem.

Why is Subaru Outback Brake Light Flashing?

The most common causes of flashing brake lights are faulty ABS, a faulty brake pump, overheated brake pads and discs, or electrical issues. You can find out more about how to detect and fix the problem by reading on.

1. Overheated Brakes

Overheated Brakes

Downhill driving necessitates considerable proficiency with the brake pedal. In order to work, brakes rely on a friction mechanism. Your brake pads and disc heat up as you step on the brake pedal. Even while the heat quickly disappears when released, they become more often activated during descent and hence do not allow for any cooling.

As soon as you see the brake warning light come on, pull over somewhere safe, preferably on level ground, and wait for the brakes to cool. If it’s taking a long time, place your palm near the wheel and feel how much heat is emitted by it. Subaru will also turn off the warning light to let you know that it is okay to continue driving.

In order to keep the brakes from overheating as long as possible, I’ll share the technique that an old school driving instructor taught me. Driving downhill, there are two points in time when you’ll need to slow down. It’s unsafe to drive at high speeds and near a corner. In most cases, if you want to slow down, you’d push and hold the brake.

Only a few seconds into the drop do you have to slam on the brakes aggressively. It’s not going to be pleasant, and it’s going to slow you down, but you’re going to organically accelerate to that point. To prevent being rear-ended by the driver behind you, keep an eye on your rear-view mirror. Since you’re giving the brakes more time to cool and using greater braking, this strategy is better for them.

2. Brake Light Malfunction

Subaru may be alerting you to the need to replace a dead brake light. Brake lights are essential for on-road safety since the car behind you will be able to see that you are preparing to stop.

It only takes a few minutes to swap out a brake light. A 7440 bulb will work for the 2013 Outback, but verify the label on the one you remove to make sure. All you need is a Philips head screwdriver to complete the job.

3. Leaking Brake Fluid

Leaking Brake Fluid

Break fluid loss is a major issue. In the first section of this article, I didn’t mention what causes the brake pads to come into touch with the rotors of the braking discs. A cylinder crushes the brake pads when you step on the brake pedal, which causes the brake pump to push brake fluid toward the brake calipers.

Brake fluid leaks cause the pedal to have less and less effect, as there’s nothing to push towards the calipers. Check the brake fluid level by opening the hood. Depending on your preference, there may be a label on top or on the cap of this little container. Slowly fill it full, and make sure you don’t go over the limit.

Even if the problem reappears, I wouldn’t advocate trying to fix it on your own because it’s not an easy task. Take the vehicle to a mechanic or at the very least enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend.

4. Parking Brake Problems

There are a lot of issues that can cause the brake light to blink when parking brakes are engaged.

In the original parking brake system, the handbrake pulled a cable that engaged the back brakes, however this is no longer the case. Brakes can become stuck and difficult to fix if the cable rusts, snaps or the system freezes when the brake is engaged. If your Subaru Outback is having trouble getting going, you’ll know that the parking brake is engaged.

As soon as the driver presses the handbrake button, an electric motor engages the rear brake. This system has a tendency to go haywire from time to time, resulting in various problems. It is recommended by the official Subaru manual that if the parking brakes fail, the vehicle should be taken to a Subaru dealer for repairs.

However, you may have engaged the parking brake too frequently. As a result of the frequent use, the parking brake light will flash for 10 seconds, making a loud noise in the process. For a short period of time, you will be unable to use the brake on your Outback. The parking brake switch should be swapped out if this occurs automatically without your participation.

5. Electrical Problems

Electrical Problems

There are a lot of moving parts in a Subaru Outback’s braking system, including the ABS module, the hydraulic pump, and a number of electric sensors that convey signals and data around the car.

When you press the brake pedal, the braking sensor detects this and sends a signal to the brake lights. Even if the car is off, the brake lights will illuminate even if you aren’t braking because of a problem. If you do this, the battery will be drained and the Subaru will not start.

Using a pressure differential switch, the brake system is divided into two separate systems for safety reasons. You’ll be able to stop safely and call a towing service if you lose half of your brake system due to a malfunction.

Without the proper instruments and knowledge, it is difficult to diagnose electrical faults.. A skilled electrician can do a better job, and he or she can also check the complete system for additional problems.


Can I drive with my brake light flashing?

If the vehicle does not lock up, it is feasible to drive with the brake lights flashing. You should not drive your Subaru Outback until you have rectified the brake problem, even if it starts and runs OK now.

When should I check my brake fluid?

Monitoring your vehicle’s fluid levels every few weeks can help you catch mechanical problems in their earliest stages. Brake fluid levels should not fluctuate if everything is working properly. You should take your car to a professional every few years to have the brake fluid quality evaluated.

How do I reset my brake light?

Disconnect the battery after opening the hood. Engaging the brake lights with your foot on the brake pedal is the quickest way to completely deplete your computer’s battery. When the battery is reconnected to the dashboard, the issue should go away. You should take your Outback to a Subaru shop for a checkup if the problem persists and isn’t just a fluke.

What happens if the car is low on the brake fluid?

Initial warning signs include an illuminated brake light, but you may also notice diminished braking force or possibly no response at all while pressing the brake pedal.

Can worn brake pads cause the brake light to come on?

Most current automobiles have a brake pad wear indicator that will alert you when it’s time to change them out.


It’s possible that the brake light will flash or come on for a variety of reasons; by using the information in this tutorial, you can narrow down the possibilities. To ensure that the task is done correctly, most brake difficulties should be handled by a trained mechanic. Check out VehicleFreak for the greatest how-tos and owner’s instructions!