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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I drove for about 100 miles today which is a lot more than usual. On my way back home after about 80 miles of driving, the brake light went on briefly while making a turn at a slow speed. While the brake light on, there was a text on the multi-function indicator saying something like MANUAL SERVICE or MAINTENANCE(I don't remember exactly since it was a very short time). The brake light and the text went off after about 20-30 seconds. There was no issue with the brake and I have been driving for about 2-3 hours before the brake light on. I stopped and checked if I could read anything from the OBD 2 scanner but nothing came on. I drove again and everything was normal.

I am wondering if I should get my brake checked by a mechanic. I will check the brake fluid level tomorrow since I am reading that low brake fluid might turn on the brake light. I am wondering if the light keeps on which was not in my case. One thing I want to mention is that today, I forgot to release the parking brake and I moved the car about 10 feet backward and 3 feet forward slowly with the parking brake on. I am wondering if the brake light is related to the incident. The light came on 2 hours after the incident.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

bigevent
 

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Yes, check fluid level and also the front brake pads, which may have worn enough to trigger that warning.
 

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^^ what ylwagon said.

I currently have the same symptom on my 1998 GLS. When I go around corners the brake light comes on. After I straighten out the light goes out.
The brake fluid level is teetering on the very edge of just enough fluid or just below the minimum of where the sensor triggers the warning.
I've just been to lazy to add the few ounces of fluid to rectify the problem.

I'll also throw this in:
If you've got a manual transmission, the brake reservoir also supplies the oil for the hydraulic clutch. So in that case you've clutch and brake pad wear that effect your fluid level.
If you have an automatic transmission, disregard that last statement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi ylwagon and AndreasPassat,

Thank you for your response. I checked the level of the brake fluid and it is right above the min. as shown in the attached photo. It did not happen before and my car is automatic drive. I will keep an eye on it whether the brake light comes up again when I make a turn. I will also mention the brake pad when I see my mechanic next time. If I want to add the brake fluid, can I just buy one that I attached and add it from the top? I am wondering if I should refill after draining them. The brake fluid has not been refilled for a long time if not never.

Thank you and I will keep you updated.

bigevent
 

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Get a cheap turkey baster, pull out the filter cup in the reservoir and suck out as much as possible from the top and refill. Then, when you have time and maybe warmth, do a 4 corner brake bleed.
 
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^^ What VAGguy said.
 

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Hi ylwagon and AndreasPassat,

Thank you for your response. I checked the level of the brake fluid and it is right above the min. as shown in the attached photo. It did not happen before and my car is automatic drive. I will keep an eye on it whether the brake light comes up again when I make a turn. I will also mention the brake pad when I see my mechanic next time. If I want to add the brake fluid, can I just buy one that I attached and add it from the top? I am wondering if I should refill after draining them. The brake fluid has not been refilled for a long time if not never.

Thank you and I will keep you updated.

bigevent
Yeah, you're right on the cusp of where the sensor/float is to trigger a low fluid message.
Adding a few ounces up to full mark will rectify that.
 

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Get a cheap turkey baster, pull out the filter cup in the reservoir and suck out as much as possible from the top and refill. Then, when you have time and maybe warmth, do a 4 corner brake bleed.
I swiped the good stainless steel turkey baster from the cooking drawer one year. :whistle:
It's now a permanent addition to my tool box. My wife just laughed when she discovered it was in my tool box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi VAGguy and AndreasPassat,

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. Today, the brake light turned on two times today in the morning, only when I made a turn to the right at the intersection, and it went away after 20 seconds. I was less panicked this time and was able to remember the text says "Break Fault, Service Manual" at the multi-function indicator. I will try to pump out with a cheap turkey baster before I add the brake fluid. I googled the 4 corner brake bleeding job and it does not seems to be a job I can do by myself. I will ask my mechanic when I need to fix my car next time.

I have two questions below.

1. Can I use a plastic turkey baster from a dollar store, not glass or stainless steel, for this job right? There is a dollar store next to my Autozone so it would be perfect to get the turkey baster.
2. Should I get the bigger bottle of 32 ounce below since I am pumping out the current fluid, or is 12 ounce good enough for the brake fluid tank?
Liquid Product Fluid Font Line


It is too cold today and I will try to do this job in two-three days when it gets warmer. Thank you again for your time and support.

bigevent
 

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A low budget plastic turkey baster will be just fine.
As far as the brake fluid goes...
I would just get the smaller bottle. Your mechanic will probably want to use his 'brand' of fluid anyways for when the system flush happens.

Remember, brake fluid absorbs water so you don't want to buy a big bottle and have it lay around for any long lengths of time. Especially in humid regions.
Even though you can't see the majority of water / condensation in the brake fluid, once contaminated fluid is introduced into the braking system, if you are in heavy stop & go traffic or have to slam on the binders, the heat from the brakes transfers into the the brake caliper and that condensation boils and produces air bubbles.
Air bubbles in a braking system is no bueno.

I was only making reference to the stainless steel turkey baster because it was such a ridiculous move on my part.
Using a $30+ cooking item for extracting dirty brake fluid is just ludicrous. But then again half of what I do... :whistle:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi VAGguy and AndreasPassat,

Today I bought the turkey baster and the DOT 4 brake fluid(attached photo). I was trying to do the job at the AutoZone parking lot but I was not able to take the inner filter out. The inner lid is loose and rotating a little bit about 45 degrees back and forth but it does not come out. I was trying to bring it out by holding the inner part tight by hand but it is very slippery. I am wondering if this particular inner filter is designed to stay inside and is not allowed to be taken out.

In the worst case, can I just add the new brake fluid without pumping out the old ones? AndreasPassat, you said you have the same issue and did not add the fluid yet right? I hope it is still safe to drive tomorrow. Today the brake light turned on 5 times, mostly when I make a right turn, and it is kind of intimidating. It never happened before and I am wondering if it is related to the cold outside temperature that started last week.

Thank you for checking this issue.

bigevent
 

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That plastic strainer is a bit cumbersome to remove. You pretty much have to get along the inside diameter of the reservoir and pry it out with a flat blade screwdriver.
It's fairly pliable, take caution as not to break it though.

Along the red lines.

Wood Font Cup Automotive tire Circle



And yes, I'm still driving my car with a low brake fluid indicator light. Every time I turn a corner it comes on.

FYI
My 1998 GLS only has the 'BRAKE' light as it's the old style LCD screen and doesn't have the little red info display like B5.5's
 

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Oh forgot to add this, The temperature drop will have a slight impact on the fluid level.
 

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If your mechanic is going to bleed the brakes in the future, you can just add fluid without removing the screen and draining the old fluid out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I tried to pry the inner filter out for 15min and gave up after seeing the color of the plastic part get white in the circled area in the attached photo. I guess I did not have a proper tool for this process. But I felt good that I tried.

I added very little( two small pourings) and it went up above the bottom of the filter. After one hour of driving, the level went down below the bottom of the filter. I think I will leave it as it is and will not add more. I am reading that I should not keep the open bottle of the Brake Fluid so I am planning to throw it out. Hopefully, I would not see the intimidating Brake Light again for a while.

Thank you again for all your response to this issue

bigevent
 

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