Emergency brake light on 2002 Ford Taurus

The emergency brake warning light comes on at various times.It does not seem to have anything to do with using the foot pedal brake. I seldom use the emergency brake. Should I use it more often? If not, where should I start looking to solve the problem?

On the 98 Taurus, the parking brake light switch works off a switch which is activated by pushing on the parking brake pedal and it causes a ground connection to close and the light to come on. I had a problem in which the connection area was dirty (corroded) and it caused the light to not function (not intermittently come on as you described). However, it’s extremely easy to check and it’s possible if a wire is frayed, it could intermittently hit a ground area causing the light to come on.

Also, check the level of brake fluid. Many cars have a level sensor wired to the brake light.

As has been suggested, the first step is to check the level of the brake fluid in your master cylinder. If, as I suspect, it is low, you should fill it to the “full line” with the type of fluid specified in your Owner’s Manual. You should be aware that a low level of brake fluid is due to one or both of the followiing conditions:

[b]*A leak in the brake hydraulic system–which is very dangerous and must be repaired immediately.

*Worn brake pads. As the pads wear, the calipers cause additional fluid to be drawn from the master cylinder. While this is not of the same immediacy as a leak, you do need to have your brake pads checked for wear as soon as possible.[/b]

Lastly, you need to use the parking brake/e-brake on a regular basis. The cable that activates the parking brake/e-brake has a tendency to rust into position if it is not used and as a result, if you do need to use that brake in an emergency situation, you will find that your parking brake pedal is frozen in place and cannot be budged. Also, by relying only on the “Park Pawl” of the transmission to hold the car in place when parked on an incline, you are putting a strain on the Park Pawl that can result in expensive internal repairs to the transmission.

Ford (and other manufacturers) did not put that parking brake/e-brake on the car just to waste their money. It was put there for a purpose (actually several purposes), and you need to use it regularly–preferably every time you park the car–in order to keep it in working condition.

Now–go outside and check that brake fluid!

Ditto VDCdriver.

Get your brakes checked!

The red brake light on the dash serves two purposes: 1) to tell you the parking brake is set, and, if the parking brake is not set, then 2) to tell you that your brake system is not up to snuff–could be as simple as low brake fluid–could be something more serious.