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2006 Outback 2.5i (stock) daily driver with custom wheels and Thule rack
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Discussion Starter #1
My red parking brake warning light is continuously illuminated and does not go out even when the parking brake is fully released. The car drives and stops completely normally with no loss of braking power or noises. Parking brake also appears to be working normally. Nothing dragging or damaged that I can tell. Brake fluid levels are fine. I scanned the car and see no error codes. I have not yet inspected pads but not sure if they are low. Will this light stay on if the brake pads are worn too far? Possibly a sensor? I would think a bad sensor or problem with ABS would show up in a scan. No other warning lights or indicators. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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A bit more info . .

I noticed the reference to "Brake fluid levels"; not sure why the plural, as there's only one brake fluid reservoir. I presume it's a typo, but want to be sure . . .

Three causes of that light being on:

Brake fluid in the reservoir is below the level that the sensor considers "low", essentially the Low mark on the reservoir.

Alternator has failed. When this happens, both the Brake and Battery warning lights come on. If both lights work when the ignition is at On (engine not started), then, because only the Brake light is the symptom, the alternator is not likely.

Parking brake lever is up, or the switch that detects when it is up is faulty.

Start by double-checking the fluid level. It's not uncommon around this time of year, as temperatures drop, for there to be posts like yours. The brake fluid is temperature sensitive; it's volume reduces as the temperature drops. If it was just above the point where the fluid level sensor switches from "okay" to "low" before, with lower temperatures this could lead to the fluid being lower and the sensor triggering the light.

There's no electronic/electrical sensor for the brake pads themselves. But as the pads wear, more fluid is retained in the calipers, so the level in the reservoir goes down. If it gets low enough to trigger the Brake light, that could mean the pads are getting worn.
 

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Premium Member
2006 Outback 2.5i (stock) daily driver with custom wheels and Thule rack
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The brake fluid level was just at or a hair above the minimum line. I then checked all 4 wheels and found all hoses and lines to be intact. The brake pads all had plenty of pad left on them. However, found the left rear caliper slightly wet around where the line is connected to it and found the screw was not completely tight. I'm not sure who would have loosened it or why it was loose as it has been about 3 years since the fluid was flushed and replaced by the dealer. But the screw was loose. I tightened it and dried the area then topped off the reservoir under the hood and the light has permanently gone out. I will watch it going forward but I have a feeling I have solved the problem. If I find anything else will update the post. Thanks for all the suggestions.
 
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