2001 Volkswagen Passat 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 91000 miles
Ok, bear with me here. Quite some time ago I was driving down the road and brake failure lights came on on my dash. I pulled over and tested the brakes on the side of the road. Noticed no degradation of performance of the brakes so I drove the car home. The warning lights intermittently would come on and off seemingly randomly. I realized it had been quite a while since I replaced the pads so, not having the time to do it myself, I took it to Mineke. They kept the car a day and said I needed rotors and pads. I Ok'd this and they replaced them. The brake warning lights did not go off. I mentioned this to Mineke and they said I may need to take the car to Volkswagen to get them to turn the light off. I have not done this yet because it appears to be just a nuisance. Now, however, the brakes are scrubbing. I have pulled the brakes apart and found that nothing obvious is wrong. Pads are still good, rotors are smooth and unworn. Caliper piston is not sticking and it's getting brake fluid from the brake lines. The car stops just fine but there is a constant scrubbing or grinding as if the pads are not releasing all the way after I apply them. I haven't driven the car much since the brake problems began but need to get it running now.
These cars have three separate warning lights tied to the brakes.
There is a warning for brake pad life, brake fluid/parking brake, and one for the ABS system.
The owner's manual will have illustrations and descriptions for all of them. When you narrow it down, please let me know and I will follow up.
September, 8, 2009 AT 8:01 PM
Hi, thanks for the quick reply, sorry it took so long for me to get back with you. Was outta town.
When the car is running the info screen at the bottom of the instrument cluster flashes three different warnings in this order: service manual --> brake fault --> STOP.
On the right side of the panel the ABS light is always on and one that just says brake is always flashing.
Also I think the ASR (traction control) might be disabled because when I press the button the ASR Off light is supposed to come on. It no longer does since this problem started.
I've test driven the car since pulling the calipers off and cleaning and checking everything. There is a slight scrubbing sound in the right front tire but the car stops as it should. I did, however, get the car up to about 35 and basically slam on the brakes. ABS did not kick in although I may not have been going fast enough.
Any other info you need please let me know. I'll reply quickly.
September, 9, 2009 AT 11:24 AM
The ABS will not work if the warning lights are on. The traction control is also incorporated in the system, so it won't function when the warning lights are on either.
The way you describe it, it may be two separate problems.
The ABS control units are a common failure and will make the warning lights come on and flash, some even have an audible warning chime. The modules need to be scanned and all codes documented to diagnose properly.
The noise may not be related to the ABS. Unfortunately I would need to hear the noise and physically inspect the brakes to give an accurate diagnosis. Because it is a brake issue it should be taken seriously and brought to a shop as soon as possible (preferably one with VW/Audi experience).