Brake light on dashboard

Tiny
SKRAL
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 136,817 MILES
The light stays on, the fluid is full, the brakes are fine, the pads are fine, even tried bypassing the float switch in the master cylinder
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 AT 3:16 PM

15 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Is that the red warning light? Does it actually say "Fluid Level" or does it just say "Brakes"? It sounds like the parking brake warning switch is not adjusted correctly.
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
SKRAL
  • MEMBER
It is the yellow "ABS" indicator light and the red "BRAKE" indicator light. The emergency brake isn't sticking
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 AT 6:47 AM
Tiny
SKRAL
  • MEMBER
The float hasn't been touched. It is t the bottom
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 AT 7:07 AM
Tiny
SKRAL
  • MEMBER
It now floats and there is no restriction on it.

Do I just need to get a new master cylinder?
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 AT 1:15 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hold the phone! The yellow ABS light means the computer detected a problem, set a diagnostic fault code, turned the system off, and turned the yellow light on to tell you. That fault code may be able to provide a clue.

If you found the float "died" in the reservoir, don't bypass the switch with a jumper wire, as it sounds like you may have done. Simply unplug that switch. If the light goes off, turn the ignition switch off, then back on. If the yellow light goes off after six seconds, it was on because the computer saw the red light was on. It wouldn't know why but it knows whatever is causing the red light to be on could prevent it from operating the ABS function properly, and that would be the only reason the yellow light was on.

This video can help you get the codes.

https://youtu.be/rTtAnsOlZU4

If the float is the issue, you must buy a new master cylinder for some car models. On others you can buy just the reservoir. You can also just leave the low-fluid switch disconnected. A lot of cars don't even have that feature. You just have to check the level periodically.

As a side note, when the brake fluid is low AND there's no external leaks, it is because the front brake pads are worn and ready to be inspected. As they wear, the pistons move out of the calipers. That is how they constantly self-adjust. Most of the time new pads are just installed, but the pistons have to be pushed back into the calipers to make room for them. That pushes all that brake fluid back up into the reservoir. This is why no conscientious mechanic will ever fill your brake fluid reservoir during other routine service, like oil changes. To do so would create a big mess from fluid overflowing later when the brake pads are replaced.
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 AT 3:51 PM
Tiny
SPRINGBANK
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 116,000 MILES
Went in to check out why my IMA (I own a hybrid) light was on. They said it was related to the 12 volt battery and that my battery pack was fine. Later that evening, the IMA light came back on. Today, not only is the IMA light on but also the ABS light and "brake" light. I was told my brakes were at 40% so I don't believe this has anything to do with my brake pads. Any ideas
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

see if a scan shows up any problem, as for the brake light, this may just be a case of the brake fluid being a bit low, check and top up if required.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BORNTOBEOUTDOORS
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 136,000 MILES
My gauges including the speedometer as well as the instrument panel lights work sometimes and don't other times. When they are not working, my brake light comes on and stays on. Sometimes when the lights work tthe odometer and gas gauge work, other times the odometer shows all 8s and I don't think the gas guage is correct. I have already changed the under dash control unit, part # 38200-S5P-A11 since this appeared to be the source for very similar problems, including the air conditioner not cooling which I also have. All the harnesses going into the dash and into the control unit are tight. Sometimes everything works, and then latrer doesn't, other times they don't work but might come on later.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
A connection seems to be loose somewhere and this requires proper diagnosis to get to the bottom of it.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BORNTOBEOUTDOORS
  • MEMBER
All connections have been examined and are tight. If it were a loose connection, why would the brake light come on when the guages and lights don't work? Also have made sure the ground is solid and as I said, the MCU/Fusebox have been replaced. According to the two shops I have taken it to, other then replacing the MCU they have no suggestions. If it was the instrument cluster panel itself that was the problem, then the brake light should not be coming on.
I have seen similar symptoms with Honda's on some of the forums, along with the remote entry not working, power windows not working and a/c blowing hot air.I do have that problem with the a/c. The solution for all that was to replace the MCU which I did at considerable expense and all that did was lighten my wallet.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
The brake lights are not linked to the MCU and are only conttrolled via the brake switch so I don't see any reason for them to come on except for a failed or misadjusted brake switch.

Are you sure it is the brake lights that is coming on orare they the taillights? They uses the same bulb except different circuit.

Is your vehicle hatchback or sedan and what is the engine size?

After replacing the MCU and you are getting the same problem so it means either the replacement MCU is also bad or it is something else.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BORNTOBEOUTDOORS
  • MEMBER
It's the brake indicator light on the instrumenmt panel that lights up when the rest don't work. If the instrument cluster is working properly then the brake indicator light is off. Brake and tailights on the exterior of the car work fine.
It's a civic LX 4 door sedan.1.7L.
The replacement MCU is brand new out of the box directly from Honda. I also tried swapping the one from a friends civic and have the same problem. So, I know it's not the mcu, it's not a ground and it's not a loose connection. Since the brake indicator light comes on when it's not working, it's probably not the instrument cluster either.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
I would not rule out the instrument cluster for the problem. It is equipped with a CPU that can cause the indicator light to com on or go out.

Did you use a scan tool to test the instrument cluster and check for trouble codes?
How about swapping the instrument cluster with your frined for a test?
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RAMBLIN
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
2000 honda civic The parking brake light comes on when accelerating and then goes off when foot is off gas. The brake is not engaged.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Check the brake fluid level in master cylinder reservoir. If it is too low, the symptoms described would occur.
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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 AT 2:06 PM (Merged)

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