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I have inherited from my father a 2000 CRV with 80,000 miles. The brake light comes on at start up. After I drive 20 miles to work it goes off. I am not very mechanical so I am wondering if this is a simple fix like a brake job or more complex. I did check the fluid and it is topped. I love this little car and would like to keep it.
Thanks, Sharon
 

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Short answer: Buy the small pint bottle of DOT3 brake fluid from AutoZone or the like and top the fluid up all the way to the max line.
Long answer: Buy the medium sized quart bottle and change the fluid. You won't need the gallon that is too much.


It is common for the float mechanism in the brake filler cap to go bad. It can generally be fixed by replacing the cap/float, cleaning the screen inside, changing the fluid or simply topping the fluid off. I noticed on mine it would do that when it got cold out and the fluid was half way between min and max. By filling it all the way to max the issue went away. Do you sometimes notice the light will blink on and off when you push and release the brake pedal as well?

Also, just to be sure make sure your hand brake is completely released as that also makes the light come on.

In theory as the brake pads wear the fluid level drops because the pads have to be pushed further. When the fluid gets to the min mark is suppose to happen about the same time the pads are almost worn out. This is also meant to turn the light on when you need the brakes replaced.

Brake fluid is suppose to be changed every 3 years because it collects water, dirt and other contaminants from the brake system. (New fluid is almost clear where soon after a change it starts to turn black,) If yours hasn't been changed in a long time it could be a good excuse to change it. The process isn't very difficult to do yourself assuming you can get the bleeder valves off. Generally it can be done with the wheels on, but I have found it easier to remove the wheel being worked on then it is to try to get to the valves with the wheels on. I think shops charge around $100 where you could do it yourself one day for about $7 for the fluid. A $20 hand pump from Harbor Freight and a roll of teflon tape will make this an easy job for one person, or you can get a helper to pump the brake pedal for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you I will do the above. After I posted(my first) a window popped up with similar links and one mentioned a screen. I discovered it and the float and they were dirty. Cleaned the screen and manually moved the float and the light is off. The fluid is nasty so now I will learn how to change that.
 

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...as the brake pads wear the fluid level drops because the pads have to be pushed further. When the fluid gets to the min mark is suppose to happen about the same time the pads are almost worn out. This is also meant to turn the light on when you need the brakes replaced.
I'd like to reinforce Shryp's note, above.


80K miles is just about the normal life expectancy of the brake pads. So, I'd check them (or have them checked) before just treating the low fluid symptom.
 
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