Brake light goes on.

OT?
My 2000 Toyota Solara convertible started displaying the Brake light on the instrument panel a few months ago. It wasn't a parking brake problem. It would go on for a couple minutes and then go off for an hour, for example. Sometimes it would go on when I was cruising on the highway and not using the brake.
The master cylinder was full. Well, it was maybe 1/4" low so I bought some brake fluid (old brake fluid is supposed to be bad. It absorbs water, so it's especially bad if you have anti-lock brakes, which iirc have parts that can rust.)
I couldn't see the opening while pouring, only the front part of the chamber through the milky plastic, where the level was lower, so I filled it to the brim and when I put the cap on, it overflowed through the hole in the cap.
That was 3 weeks ago and the light hasn't been on since. The counter guy at Pep Boys said the same thing, that his light was on and only one ounce of fluid to fill it up was enough to turn off the light.
No wires go to the cap and no evidence of anything in the top inch and a half or more of the master cylinder to turn the brake light on if the fluid level is low. I don't know why this worked.
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| My 2000 Toyota Solara convertible started displaying the Brake light on | the instrument panel a few months ago.
I have the same trouble with my Tacoma, but it is the parking brake. The cable has become stretched while the pull-back spring assembly is stiff. The problem is that it just doesn't retract fully, so it doesn't push down the little button above the brake pedal to shut the light off. You might check just to make sure that's not the problem you're having. On the other hand, if you're filling the brake fluid canister every 3 weeks you have a serious problem. It's also not supposed to be filled to the top. Or, at least, I've never seen one where the fill line was at the top.
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 09:05:33 -0400, "Mayayana"

There is a float switch in the reservoir, and they can be "flakey", triggering the brake warning light even with the fluid at the correct level.
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| There is a float switch in the reservoir, and they can be "flakey", | triggering the brake warning light even with the fluid at the correct | level.
That could explain the light going out when he tops it up. Maybe the float switch is sticking. Now the question is where the heck is all of his brake fluid going to? :)
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On Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 1:38:37 PM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:

All this brake fluid? He said he only put in a small amount. It's 99% odds that it's going to the calipers as the pads wear.
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:40:49 -0400, "Mayayana"

Well, for starters, check the front brake pads. When the pads get worn down to the "limit" the fluid level should be about low enough to turn on the light. Replacing the pads and pushing the pistons back should restore the fluid level. Good idea to drain and flush the fluid at this time as fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) and moisture will settle to the lower parts of the system, corroding the calipers and pistons.
He could also have a leak in the master cyl, steel lines, flex lines, calipers, or rear cyls.
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:18:49 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

If the cable has stretched, there is an adjustment at the base of the lever that will shorten the cable maybe as much as a half inch. It's usually a nut that pulls in a screw that has the cable attached. If that adjustment is insufficient, JCWhitney used to sell a cable shortener that went on where there were 2 inches of cable in the air. It's shaped like a Euro symbol, or an E, with a hook in the middle and a screw that pulls the hook back, while the rest of cable is caught on the upper and lower arms of the E. Okay, not surprisingly, they still sell them. Search on brake cable shortener. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/111536020661?lpid &chn=ps
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/dorman-help-brake-cable-adjuster-universal-03006/5014557-p?cm_mmc=PLA-_-Google-_-GPLA-_-5014557&ci_src 588969&ci_skuP14557&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw=&iv_=__iv_p_1_a_214327102_g_12425515822_w_kwd-61865531738_h_9007909_ii__d_c_v__n_g_x_pla_y_6201684_f_online_o_5014557_z_US_i_en_j_61865531738_s__vi__&gclid=CjwKEAjwtr6sBRDv7uzB492H9XISJADj6aqb5rCtDSuoIeltES6b3WqLoQtW006t9VzF3HX_8EHerhoCglHw_wcB This one has the hook going the wrong direction!! And the reviews are interesting. For some, it bent.
https://chircoestore.com/cable-shortening-kit-emergency-brake.html?gclid=CjwKEAjwtr6sBRDv7uzB492H9XISJADj6aqbpYoiFGiP_zB7bLszPj28jYHvbso3nu1fIFtNr0-EMBoCWtrw_wcB This one looks entirely different... Ah, it's a replacement or maybe an extreme version of the adjusting screw I first mentioned. I think it might not fit in many cars, but it would make going under the car unnecessary.

You have a little button that shuts the light off?

As I said, It's not the emergency brake.

I've had the car for 3 or 4 years, and it's only one ounce below overflowing. I guess these are general instructions, not just for me.

Me neither, but there's no arguing with success.

I have to think about this. I guess making the fluid level deeper increases the lift on the float. Is that true? It increases the fluid pressure, but I'm still not sure it increases lift on something that floats, that was already entirely under the fluid level. ??
And I forgot that there would be a proper level line embossed in the plastic. It was daytime but it was still in the shadow and I could have found that with a flashlight. But it seems it's good to ignore that level when you need to.
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| | If the cable has stretched, there is an adjustment at the base of the |
I'll have to check for that. But there's also stiffness in the spring mechanism to pull the cable back when released, and the spring in that is a stock part.
| You have a little button that shuts the light off? | | As I said, It's not the emergency brake. | The light is the same. There's a button (at least there is in cars I've had) at the base of the emergency brake cylinder, under the dashboard. So the brake light goes on when the emergency brake is on, then the light goes out when it's released. It's like the button to turn refrigerator lights on/off.
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:09:47 -0400, "Mayayana"

On many vehicles there is a park light engaged light, a brake system failure light, and an ABS activity light which also acts as an ABS failure light.
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wrote:

If the spring isn't strong enough, spray some lubricant down the brake cable. A lot I guess, since it the cable goes all the way to the wheels. Although come to think of it, it's only in a sheeth part of the way. But that would mean there are other places, curves and bends, where there is more cable within sheeth. Any of it could be the place where the cable is binding. I think it's more likely the cable is binding than that the spring is weak. In my limited but not non-existent experience, most springs go 50 or 100 years or more without losing their springiness.
Dirt is one of the biggest problems in machinery and electronics too.

Right. That's why I had to check the parking brake. In fact I checked it first, and when the light was otherwise off, I could see at what point the light turned on an off.

Oh, okay. I never found the switch for my parking brake, but I didn't have to because when the light was otherwise off, I coudl move the brake lever back and forth and see at what point the light turned on and off. And there was enough leeway to know for sure that brake wasn't the problem.
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| If the spring isn't strong enough, spray some lubricant down the brake | cable. A lot I guess, since it the cable goes all the way to the | wheels. Although come to think of it, it's only in a sheeth part of | the way. But that would mean there are other places, curves and bends, | where there is more cable within sheeth. Any of it could be the place | where the cable is binding. I think it's more likely the cable is | binding than that the spring is weak.
No, it's the spring. It's right there in plain sight. There's no sheath. And sometimes the arm sticks. The cable connects to an arm about halfway back. Another cable connects there and goes to the brake. When the brake cable is released, a spring connected to the arm causes it to be pulled toward the back in order to keep it snug. It's that spring design that accounts for the emergancy brake handle retracting when it's released.
I've tried household oil on the spring. It seems to help. But the whole assembly has rusted somewhat. Not really a big deal, which is why I haven't quite got around to *really* dealing with it.
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wrote:

I guess the lesson for both of us in this thread is that the person t here likely knows more about the problem than some other guy reading. :-)

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wrote:

I want to recommend the reviews on this one again.
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On Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 12:58:52 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

my voyager van does that occasionally, check brake pads. as the wear the fluid level drops light flickers at first going around a bend
get your brakes cchecked befor destroying rotors and drums
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On Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 10:10:44 AM UTC-4, bob haller wrote:

I would think a typical 2000 model year car would have a brake fluid level sensor. Given that adding the fluid appears to have fixed it, I'd say it's likely there.
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On 6/28/2015 11:00 AM, trader_4 wrote:

It does. Plugin on the passenger side of the reservoir.
http://images.oreillyauto.com/parts/img/medium/ba/ba0729567-1.jpg
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On 06/28/2015 12:58 AM, micky wrote:

Is it a pressure-activated switch? On our '02 Chrysler 300M it's a mechanical switch: with no pressure on the brake pedal, the spring is holding it up against the switch, holding the contact open.
Perce
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On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 15:16:13 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

Most of today's cars have a switch on the pedal linkage that turns on the brake lights on the rear of the car - but that's not what the OP was talking about. The brake system warning light on the dash can be triggered by low fluid, or on some vehicles, the loss of pressure on one side of the system - or a failure in the ABS system.
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