I have a '97 Toyota pick up and my concern is the brake light is on all the time on the dash. Is the hand brake switch out of adjustment or is it telling me something else?
First check the brake fluid level.
I hope you are not driving this thing until you figure it out.
As noted the first thing to check is the brake fluid level. BTW, when was the last time you changed brake fluid. Do you know it should be changed from time to time, like every two or three years? (Note the age of the fluid should not have anything to do with the light.)
Assuming the parking brake is not the source then there is a small leak somewhere in the brake system. The light is operated by a pressure differential switch; if there is a pressure difference between the two brake circuits there is a small leak and the light comes on. It may be small enough that the brake pedal still feels solid, especially if it’s a rear wheel cylinder; as that pressure is lower than the front caliper pressure.
Eventually the circuit that is leaking will fail, but you will still have one working brake circuit, and then you will definitely need to get it fixed:)
I wouldn’t jump to a comclusion about leakage yet; the low level of the brake fluid can be caused by the brake pads wearing down. Top up the fluid and schedule a brake check - I’ll bet it’s pads and not a leak.
do you have the twist and pull type of e-brake? can you turn off the light by releasing the brake and pushing the handle in? sometimes they stick out just a little bit and that causes the light to stay on. these types of e-brakes have typical spring, switch problems, a little adjusting may be in order.
also, i think (though not certain) your truck has TWO brake lights. one indicating the e-brake is on, the other indicates brake problems. look in you manual to see if this is so. that would be a huge help.
also, since i have been wrong on more than a few occasions, do check the brake fluid under the hood as others have suggested.
if the brake fluid level is really low, you in all likely hood need a brake job, pads, and maybe rotors.
Glen’s right. As the pads wear down, more of the fluid remains in the calipers and less in the reservoir. The reservoir is sized such that when the pads become worn the fluid level has dropped enough in the reservoir to trigger the light, which is activated by a float switch.
Check your brakes. If they’re not worn down, then you should look for residue indicating a leak.
Thanks for the suggestions. It turns out that the problem is on the pull lever which you have to twist to release. The switch was out of adjustment. Thanks for the help.