My father has a 2003 Mercury Sable. Earlier this month we took it in to have them check out a burning smell. They said the oil pan gasket was leaking and needed to be replaced. This led to an entire week’s worth of work to get the exhaust system down to get to the oil pan gasket. Since that repair, the parking brake light will come on at random times while driving. It doesn’t stay on too long and I can’t seem to find a pattern to what triggers it to come on. Any thoughts? Does this need to be fixed asap?
Read your owner’s manual.
That’s not just a parking brake applied light. It is also a brake system problem warning light. In your particular case, it is triggered by a low brake fluid level.
You need to add brake fluid to bring it back to full. Then you need to inspect (or have someone do it) the brake pads to see if they or worn down and check for hydraulic leaks. You have one or both issues for the brake fluid to have gone low. Usually, it is worn brake pads.
If the foot pedal is partially depressed it can trigger the light without applying the brakes. Also they may pulled on the parking brake cable under the car and put enough slack it it to let the pedal activate the light. So try pulling up on the pedal to take the slack out and also pull on the cable under the car to make sure it is not hung up.
You also need to find a new shop,it should not take a significant amount of time to remove and exhaust system with a torch and a lift.
The parking brake may have been applied a little bit without you knowing it, and that could have been the burning smell you mentioned.
Does it feel like it’s taking a little longer to get stopped on dry pavement since this has happened?
Thanks to all. It turned out to be a leak in the master cylinder. All fixed now.