Have You Seen The Light? Cold Weather And Your Brake Warning Light
If you recently saw the brake warning light go on, on your dashboard, you may have been alarmed. That's understandable because it's not called a warning light for nothing -- it indicates something needs to be checked in your brake system. But if you saw the light go on in the morning when the weather was unusually cold, especially if the light went out after a few minutes, then the problem might not really be that bad. In fact, in this situation, you should be happy the light went on because you're getting very early notification of an issue that's easy to solve.
Brake Fluid Level Minimums and Cold Temperatures
As you'd expect, there's a minimum level of fluid that the car needs to function properly. When you check your brake fluid, the amount you find has to fall between minimum and maximum levels. If the fluid is close to the minimum line normally, its level can drop below the minimum in cold weather as the cold temperatures make the fluid contract. The brake fluid isn't freezing, but the effect still makes the brake warning light go off.
Try adding a little brake fluid. If you aren't comfortable doing that yourself, a brake repair shop or auto repair shop can do that for you easily. Do not fill the reservoir to the maximum -- you just want to get enough in there so that the fluid is always above the minimum line even if the fluid is contracting in cold. If the brake light doesn't come on again except when the emergency brake is engaged, then you've found the problem.
Generally, in that case, the fluid level is simply getting too low. It's normally at an OK level, but it's low enough that the contraction takes it out of the normal range. That gives you time to add fluid or change the fluid before something more serious happens.
Moisture in the Brake Fluid
Sometimes, if your brake fluid is very old and starting to get a bit low, moisture (as in regular water) can get into the brake fluid. If the temperature drops below freezing, the moisture can freeze. The resulting brake fluid levels are then thrown off, with the fluid not always reaching the minimum-level mark that it needs to be at to keep the warning light off. If you think this is the case, get your brake fluid flushed and replaced. This is an easy remedy that any repair shop can do.
For more information, contact Express Oil Change or a similar company.