Buy a crash helmet.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1985 Mercury Topaz. About a month ago, the brake light came on while I was driving. When I slowed down for a stop light, it would go out. Then, when I got underway again, it would come back on. Now it stays on all the time. What should I do?

RAY: Buy a crash helmet.

TOM: Actually, Bill, you should have your brakes checked right away. The brake light signals two things. You probably know that it tells you when your parking brake is on.

RAY: But more importantly, it also tells you when your brake fluid is low. And that's what I suspect is wrong with your Topaz.

TOM: The brake fluid could be low for two reasons. It could be leak?ing, in which case, the crash helmet is a very good idea.

RAY: But more likely, it's telling you that your brake pads are worn out. When the pads wear down, the fluid fills the space the pads used to take up. And the light lets you know it's time to replace them.

TOM: So have someone look at the brakes today to determine if it's a leak or just worn out pads. And whatever you do, don't just top off the brake fluid. If you do, you'll you'll never find out why the fluid is low--in which case, you should refer to my brother's original suggestion.

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