Volkswagen Passat Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
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
 

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
^^ 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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
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
 

Attachments

·
Moderator/Administrator
Joined
·
26,028 Posts
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AndreasPassat

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
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.
 

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
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
 

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
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:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
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
 

Attachments

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
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
 

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
Oh forgot to add this, The temperature drop will have a slight impact on the fluid level.
 

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
27,961 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
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
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi all,

I just want to update what I had to do with my car brake system. I went to see my mechanic to check the grinding sound when I hit the brake pedal(not all the time but often) and he told me to replace two rotors(only front and he told me the rear rotors look fine) and four brake pads(front and back). I paid $140 for the two rotors and $290 for the four brake pads(labor included). I ask my mechanic to do bleeding that you mentioned in this post and he told me it is not recommended since it is an old car and it will break the nuts and will require replacing the whole system if that happens. He also told me to consider replacing the right-side front axle which he thinks is the source of squeaky sound when I drive on a bumpy road like a cobblestone. he told me to keep an eye on it and let him know if the sound gets louder.

For the record, I documented the photos below for the record. There are holes when you see photos of the new rotors below. I guess it is just because the new rotor is different from the old ones. I also noticed a new metal wire only on one side of the front wheel and I assume it was necessary to be replaced when the brake pads are replaced. There is an abrasion sound at the very end when stops and I assume it is because the brake pads and the rotors are new. But I don't feel/hear any grinding sound when stops. Let me know if you have any suggestions for what I did with the brake system update.

Thank you as always and I hope you have a wonderful springtime.

bigevent

Automotive tire Light Motor vehicle Product Automotive design



Shoe Silver Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,001 Posts
Your old rotors were certainly due to be replaced, at least the front right one was very rusted and unsafe. I'd say if you replace one side you need to do both so that was a good call.

I'm surprised that only one side has the metal spring. Unless the pads used on either side were different brands they should be identical. I'd ask the mechanic to check for that missing spring next time you see him. AFAIK, the spring is mostly to prevent the brakes from squealing when stopping as it's an anti-vibration device more than anything.

As for the sounds, it's hard to tell from your description. If you start to see any kind of abnormal wear on the new rotors that is a bad sign. They should look pretty new-ish for some time. Brake pads also need to bed in so unless that was already done the sound may just go away on its own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi lowegian,

Thank you for your comments and information. Regarding the metal spring, there is one on the other side as well as the attached photo shows, but it is not as shiny as the other side. I thought they kept the old spring on this side since it is still usable. I will mention to my mechanic why the two metal springs look different. I will keep checking the new rotor to see if any kind of abnormal wear shows up. From my gut feeling, the sound that I hear when I stop at the very end for about 1/8 second seems to be coming from the abrasion between the new brake pad and the new rotor and I will keep an eye on it if it goes away when I use it more.

As a side story, my previous mechanic told me to change the rotor about 5 years ago. After having a bad service from him, I found the current mechanic. I was surprised when he told me that my rotor looks fine when I asked if I should change. Since then, he did not tell me to change my rotor until last week so I trusted his suggestion. I am so glad I changed both front rotors. He told me the old rotor on the front left seems to be okay but he suggested changing both which aligns with your note.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughtful advice.

bigevent
 

Attachments

·
PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,244 Posts
I 100% disagree with the mechanics statement. All 4 rotors need to be replaced. The front ones are for sure gone.
The right rear rotor is junk. If your picture is an accurate representation of color, then the left rear is junk also. According to the color of the picture, that rotor has been overheated, which indicates brake drag. Either by the piston or the emergency brake not retracting.
Yeah what's up with that spring clip on only one side. That's not right.

FYI -
The Passat rear brakes have a heavier biased braking than other average cars. It's what keeps the car under control during heavy or panic braking.
That there should dictate that the rear rotors are just as important as the front ones.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top