Parking Brake Comes On While Driving

While driving my 2002 Toyota Sienna (164,000 miles), I noticed that the parking brake light came on when the road had a reasonably sharp turn to the right (perhaps >20 degrees). It did not come on while driving when a similar turn to the left occurred on the road. As soon as the car leveled out from the turn, the light went off. When I made a turn in either direction from a full stop, the light came on and then went off after the car leveled off. Suggestions?

Check the level of your brake fluid.

Cigroller is correct. The same warning light that tells you the parking brake/e-brake is on also tells you that your brake fluid is too low for safe functioning of the service brakes. If you want confirmation of this you could consult the Owner’s Manual.

The low level of brake fluid indicates either that there is a leak in the brake hydraulic system or that your brake pads are badly worn. When brake pads are badly worn, the calipers draw more fluid from the master cylinder, hence the low level in the MC.

Either way, after you replenish the fluid with the correct type, you need to take the car to a mechanic to determine which of the above scenarios is causing a drop in the brake fluid level. Drive to the mechanic’s shop slowly.

I concur. Well written, VDC.

Thanks folks. I’m on my way to the garage right now.