Continued from last week.
I think the single MOST DANGEROUS light is
the Brake Warning light and now with Anti-Lock Brake systems,
there may be TWO lights. But lets just deal with the standard
brake warning light first.
This light will come on when there is a loss
of pressure in one section of the brake system. (Most vehicles
have two systems so that a major leak will cause loss of braking
to only two wheels.) BUT (And that is a BIG BUT.) most vehicle
use the SAME WARNING LIGHT TO SHOW IF THE PARK BRAKE IS ON and
this can cause a very dangerous situation. If you loose brake
system pressure to two wheels, the vehicle will NO LONGER STOP
PROPERLY and could result in an accident.
I don't know how many times I have seen people
driving vehicles that had the system warning light on and ASSUMED
that it was just a problem with THE PARK BRAKE. I got accused
of trying to Rip a guy off once because he came in for an Oil
change and my Technician saw his Brake Warning light was on,
so he checked it out and found a broken brake line to the rear
wheels. When I suggested that we repair his vehicle, I was told
that he was well aware of how us Mechanics worked and he KNEW
that there was nothing wrong with his brakes. He said that the
light we were talking about was only for the Park brake and
he never used it anyway. He really got upset when I told him
that I could not allow his car to leave the shop unless it was
on a Tow truck, as it was unsafe and I could not LEGALLY let
an unsafe car leave my shop. He called the Police and was amazed
to find out that I was right and the Police Officer waited around
until the guy had a Tow truck pick up his car. But, the Police
Officer came back a little bit later and told us how this guy
had just had his car towed around the corner and dropped off.
The guy got in and drove the car away but the Police Officer
pulled him over.
The Officer issued him a ticket for operating
a UN-safe Motor Vehicle and had the car impounded. I even had
another guy tell me that he wasn't concerned about the Brake
Warning light being on and not having proper brakes because
it was his Wife's car and all she ever did was drive around
town with the KIDS and she never drove fast and wouldn't have
to stop hard. (??????) I 'll. bet you can image what happened
to him. If the Brake warning light comes on, check the fluid
level in the Master Cylinder first and if the level is down
more than normal, you have a problem. This suggests that there
may be a leak somewhere and you may not have proper brakes.
I DO NOT recommend that you drive the vehicle
AT ALL because if you have an accident, who is to say if you
were operating an unsafe vehicle or not. (From a Legal standpoint
that is.) If by necessity you have to drive the vehicle, BE
VERY CAREFUL and remember that the vehicle WILL NOT STOP PROPERLY
and only drive to where you can get help.
Once again, that is why the light is RED because
it means DANGER.
Next week, I will get into ABS warning lights
and a few neat things that people should know about them.
"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - June 20th,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999