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Discussion Starter #1
.....now I have to really press down hard to apply brakes. Is this just a need for brake fluid....or (gulp) new brakes?
 

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Could be either or both. No grinding noise when braking?

The light most likely means low fluid, but the cause could be a leak or it could be your brakes are so worn the full travel on the calipers has lowered the reservoir level. Adding fluid will likely make the light go out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get the brakes inspected. Do you have a trusted shop you can pop into and have them top up the fluid and take a quick look?
 
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You could open the hood and look at the brake fluid resevoir. But if your brake pads need replaceing, don't top up the brake fluid because putting the new pads on will push the new fluid back out of the resevoir! :eek:
 
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Could be either or both. No grinding noise when braking?

The light most likely means low fluid, but the cause could be a leak or it could be your brakes are so worn the full travel on the calipers has lowered the reservoir level. Adding fluid will likely make the light go out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get the brakes inspected. Do you have a trusted shop you can pop into and have them top up the fluid and take a quick look?
Thank you for your prompt answer!! .......I have no trusted shop yet. No grinding noise when braking.
 

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You could open the hood and look at the brake fluid resevoir. But if your brake pads need replaceing, don't top up the brake fluid because putting the new pads on will push the new fluid back out of the resevoir! :eek:
Ah! Soooo good to know......I thank you very much !!!!
 

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Funny story that relates here, though also points out the possible seriousness of this scenario.

Spent 7 months back in the repair business temporarily in 2019 working at a local shop. College kid rolls in with a 2013 Civic complaining that the brake light on the dash is on. We pull it in the shop and can see through the wheels that the front rotors are scored pretty good. So up on the lift and one wheel off after seeing a fluid leak on the passenger side and we find that the pads are so far gone that there aren't even backing plates left, In fact we found one laying in the parking lot. Kid had been ignoring the grinding noise for so long that it was caliper piston against rotor giving braking action until the piston worn down enough that the travel exceeded the caliper housing and the piston came out leaking fluid all over which caused the light to come on. Kid called his Dad and they refused repairs and he drove away. SMH.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Funny story that relates here, though also points out the possible seriousness of this scenario.

Spent 7 months back in the repair business temporarily in 2019 working at a local shop. College kid rolls in with a 2013 Civic complaining that the brake light on the dash is on. We pull it in the shop and can see through the wheels that the front rotors are scored pretty good. So up on the lift and one wheel off after seeing a fluid leak on the passenger side and we find that the pads are so far gone that there aren't even backing plates left, In fact we found one laying in the parking lot. Kid had been ignoring the grinding noise for so long that it was caliper piston against rotor giving braking action until the piston worn down enough that the travel exceeded the caliper housing and the piston came out leaking fluid all over which caused the light to come on. Kid called his Dad and they refused repairs and he drove away. SMH.
LOL....oh that cheered me up no end!
 

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LOL....oh that cheered me up no end!
Just to be clear, that doesn't mean you don't have a very low pad condition causing the light to come on. It could be that or a fluid leak and more rare but not impossible a faulty fluid level sensor/switch. Definitely need to get it checked ASAP as brakes are in the top two safety issue category.
 

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Just to be clear, that doesn't mean you don't have a very low pad condition causing the light to come on. It could be that or a fluid leak and more rare but not impossible a faulty fluid level sensor/switch. Definitely need to get it checked ASAP as brakes are in the top two safety issue category.
Ok I hear you. I hope you will continue to respond to my issues in the future, you've been great. And I just know there will be more issues with a 1999. Trying to find an inexpensive replacement vehicle but its a jungle out there!
 

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You could open the hood and look at the brake fluid resevoir. But if your brake pads need replaceing, don't top up the brake fluid because putting the new pads on will push the new fluid back out of the resevoir! :eek:
Hey, thanks for all your help. Please keep an eye out for me in future!!!
 

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Kid called his Dad and they refused repairs and he drove away. SMH.
Grossly irresponsible parent!

Around here, a shop would not be allowed to release a car with brakes in that condition, unless it were towed away.
 

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Grossly irresponsible parent!

Around here, a shop would not be allowed to release a car with brakes in that condition, unless it were towed away.
The kid did ask if he could get it back to the school 5 miles away and claimed his dad was going to come with a trailer to get it. We wouldn't have objected to him leaving it on our lot for a couple of days and didn't even charge him for the inspection. I told him it wasn't safe to even cross the street with, but he ignored me.

My son is out of college now, but I did front pads and rotors before he left the first year and the rear drums were 75%. Of course I inspected them each fall before he returned, but he called me spring of his senior year saying there was a noise. He was only an hour away, so Saturday morning with 35 degrees and a misting rain I show up with tools and discover the pass front caliper seized and the inner pad indicator rubbing. He probably would have made it the 60 days that was left as he was only driving about 10 miles a week, but I don't mess around with brakes. 2 hours later it had new pads, rotors, and calipers on both sides. Looking back I could have gotten by with a caliper and pads, but it's just not my habit to do things that way.
 
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You could open the hood and look at the brake fluid resevoir. But if your brake pads need replacing, don't top up the brake fluid because putting the new pads on will push the new fluid back out of the resevoir! :eek:
I disagree, partially. Right now he SHOULD top off the brake fluid and bleed the brakes.
At the very LEAST, top off the reservoir, for safety sake if he drives it before fixing it.
Yes, if he installs new pads the fluid in the reservoir will overflow. That fluid needs to be replaced anyways.

It could be a leak or worn pads, master cylinder. etc BUT, topping off the reservoir NOW, might keep him from an accident for a short period of time until he gets the problem fixed, whatever it is.

But make SURE the brakes work after filling it to the full mark.

It is also possible that the fluid level switch in the reservoir is bad, but that would NOT cause hard braking, but a failing master cylinder could.
Then, IF he does decide to replace pads, etc, he should suck the fluid out of the reservoir BEFORE he replaces the pads and then do a COMPLETE flush of the brake system and bleed the brake system. I use the Valvoline 3-4 stuff. Much cheaper than the Honda BF.
Most likely the brake fluid in that vehicle is WAY past it predicted life. ( I think they say every 3 yrs)
Buffalo4
 

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You could open the hood and look at the brake fluid resevoir. But if your brake pads need replaceing, don't top up the brake fluid because putting the new pads on will push the new fluid back out of the resevoir! :eek:
I say fill'er up. I use pad replacement as a milestone to do the recommended brake fluid flush/replacement. So, I'll be using the Mityvac or turkey baster to empty the MC anyway. I know that a lot of people are dismissive of replacing brake fluid periodically, but I was doing it before it first appeared on the maint schedule for any car I've owned. Really inexpensive PM for someone who keeps cars for a dozen years or longer. And remains responsible for them when then passed along to family.
 
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