Brake System Safety

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I have an 89 Toyota Camry and my emergency brake light has started coming on since the weather got cold. I'm pretty sure the brake is not actually rubbing against the tires, because when I'm moving forward the light goes out, but when I decelerate (no braking) the light comes back on. I would like to know how to tighten my brake cable so this doesn't happen.

First thing you should check is to make sure that there is sufficient fluid in the brake reservoir. There is an emergency low fluid light associated with it. Unfortunately, it is the same light that illuminates when the emergency brake (or parking brake) is engaged. If your parking brake was engaged, thus illuminating the light, motion would have zero effect. Since you state that the light is going on and off, it would seem to me that it is the fluid level. A vehicle brake system does NOT consume fluid. If the fluid is low, there are only 2 reasons. The first is that the pads are sufficiently worn and there is more fluid in the lines, or secondly, there is a leak. Since this could lead to a safety issue, if you are not comfortable with performing these repairs yourself, I would suggest taking it to a certified mechanic.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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