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That annoying brake light

98 Camry 6 cyl Automatic. Brake light came on two days ago. Pedal pressure was fine. Checked fluid: low. Immed topped off. The next afternoon, I swapped out the front pads. Old pads had worn down to a sixteenth of an inch or less; figured that was the issue. Rotors looked fine. New pads in, tires back on, pumped the brake pedal a few times. Pedal pressure was still good. Fluid level had increased. But the brake light was still on!

Took the car out for a drive… 5mph, stop. 10 mph, stop. so on and so forth through 65 mph. all braking fine. pedal pressure good the whole way through. tested the parking brake. engaged fine. But the brake light was still on!

This morning I replaced rear brake pads. Old one were at 50% or more. However, when I was compressing the rear passenger caliper to fit around new pads, noticed a lot of fluid coming out as I compressed. Don’t know if that is normal or a function of the excess fluid in the system now. New pads in, tires back on, pumped the brake pedal a few times. pedal pressure still good. But that brake light is still on

Did the same test drive mentioned above.

But that annoying brake light is still on!!

I am sure I could get a firmer pedal by bleeding… but I am at a loss as to what else could be causing this blasted light to stay on.



The thing you should have done was took the wifes good turkey baster and sucked some of that fluid out before compressing the pads…it will wash up. you just overfilled the resevior when you compressed them.
Actually you never should compressed the pistons until you loosen the bleeder screw. Pushing fluid in reverse thru the ABS can do damage and is a coastly repair.

The switch that turns on the brake light…when you apply the E Brake may be faulty.


Thanks, yosemite. Don’t know how much a concern ABS would be at this point. ABS has been disconnected for years. Happy Firestone guys were doing struts a few years back and lo and behold when I got it back, ABS and traction were off. Just trying to keep the car running for the next year or two.

Hoping its a faulty switch on the E brake. Everything seems to be working great. Fluid level has not changed since putting in new pads. Will keep checking, though.

Your float in the master cylinder may have gotten saturated or stuck.

DUUUUDE! Keith! Thanks! Went out and gave the reservoir a few light taps with my screwdriver… obviously enough to unstick the float valve. brake light is OFFFFFFF!!!

Just because the was disconnected years ago…electricly…the fluid lines still go thru the actuator and that is where the problem occurs. As I stated "pushing the fluid backwards thru the lines can damage the actuator. Besides brake fluid is hydroscopic (attracts moisture) and by letting the fluid drain into a pan, you at least replace some of the fluid each time you do brakes.


I dig. And thanks for the heads up. Total neophyte here. Always happy to learn more.

ABS is irrelevant to the problem you had, as you now know having fixed the problem.

ABS is simply a system of solenoid-actuated vales, one in each brake line, that are closed in a pulsating manner when the system detects a wheel not turning. The valves interfere with the transmission of the force in the hydraulic system to the caliper. The pulsations cause the pads to pulse, opening and closing them in rapid successions. If disconnected electrically, as yours apparently are, the valves just stay open and you have the full function of the braking system as if ABS had never been invented.

If you’d like to re-enable your ABS system, say so and we’ll be happy to help. The problem that caused you to disable it might be as simple as a dirty sensor.

Hey we’re here to help if we can. We don’t discriminate…we don’t care what kind of animals you’re into we jusy try to…
Oh, Neophyte forget it!!! :slight_smile:


Yosemite, are you okay?

Hey you should try working with me some days. Some times I’m another Robin Willians, other days I’m just as quiet as can be.
Now you’re wondering “When is he ever quiet”!!!


LOL, your post just seemed… disconnected.

@the same mountainbike ; Thanks for the concern, as soon as the nurse gets here to untie me and remove this helmet I’ll be fine.
I always wondered why Grandma called me "Numbnuts"
She was a sweetie though. She was the grandma that would trod thru all the mud at the marsh to help catch frogs and tadpole’s.