|LANCE’S CORNER – AUTO REPAIR HELP|
BRAKE WARNING LIGHT
The brake warning light (not to be confused with the ABS or anti-lock warning light) will light up when one of the following occurs:
1) Parking brake cable doesn’t completely release (or the parking brake mechanism doesn’t fully disengage)
2) Loss of brake fluid
3) Hydraulic pressure imbalance in the master cylinder
Does the light come on only in cold weather? There may be moisture buildup in the brake fluid and this moisture is actually freezing when the outside temperature falls below 32F for extended periods of time. Such freezing will cause an imbalance in the brake fluid pressure. If your car is more than five years old, has the brake fluid been flushed? If no, then the glycol-based hydraulic fluid probably has absorbed a some moisture from the atmosphere, and this moisture is freezing in cold weather.
If such moisture is indeed freezing, it may be preventing the brake system from developing equal hydraulic pressure in both halves of the master cylinder, thus creating a pressure imbalance; this will trigger the brake warning light. Get the brake system flushed and bled at your nearest auto repair shop. This will flush out all moisture in the brake system. Further, it will eliminate further corrosion of brake parts like: brake lines, calipers, master cylinders, and ABS units. If you can afford it, have your brake fluid flushed by a reputible auto repair shop every 12,000 miles.
(Lance owned his own auto repair shop for 30 years before retiring in 2006.)