Brake fluid level indicator light on the dash

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

7 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Is that the red warning light? Does it actually say "Fluid Level" or does it just say "Brakes"?
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
IS THE FLOAT FLOATING, OR IS IT STUCK IN THE DOWN POSITION? (JIGGLE W/ PENCIL)

IS SOMETHING PREVENTING THE EMERGENCY BRAKE SWITCH FROM MOVING?

THE MEDIC
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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 AT 5:19 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
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
THINK ABOUT IT.

AT THE BOTTOM MEANS EMPTY

MAKE IT FLOAT!

THE MEDIC
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 AT 12:47 PM
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.

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

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