If brake account is accurate, dealer dropped the ball

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: March 7, 2014 - 10:28 PM

Q: I have a 2003 Buick Rendezvous. After the dealer did a brake job, the red “Brake” warning light on the dash came on, along with an audible alarm. The dealer said they didn’t cause it, don’t know why it’s doing it and don’t know how to fix it. They said I could disconnect the wire to the radio speaker but they would not do this for me.

A: Really? Even without hearing both sides of the story, it’s hard for me to believe an authorized dealer would suggest a car owner ignore a brake warning light and audible warning signal. Beyond this, how a dealer could tell you they don’t know what or why the warning light is on without checking the car is just as questionable.

Typically, there are three reasons the red “Brake” warning light comes on” low brake fluid level in the reservoir, the parking brake still engaged or a problem with the hydraulic brake system.

The dealer should have checked fluid level in the brake master cylinder reservoir, checked that mechanical components of the parking brake or its electrical switch are not sticking and, most important, scanned for any brake system, ABS or TCS (traction control system) fault codes.

For the dealer to have serviced the brake system, then deny causing the brake warning light to illuminate without any investigation and to suggest that you ignore the light and disable the audible warning is, frankly, almost unbelievable.

Q: My daughter has a 2004 Saturn Ion that has a problem starting when overnight temperatures drop to zero or below. She turns the key and it just goes “Click, click, click,” or starts to turn over, then stops. She leaves it sit for 15-20 minutes and then it starts right away. During warm weather it starts fine. Can you help?

A: Check the battery terminals, connections and cables. The “Click, click, click” is typically a sign that the battery is weak or connections are so poor that not enough amperage reaches the starter motor to crank over the engine. The electrical resistance through poor connections during several starting attempts may actually warm up the connections and battery enough to enable an engine start.

Load-test the battery itself. An aged battery operating in subzero temperatures may well be the culprit.

Q: My granddaughter has a 2008 Chevy Uplander with 65,500 miles. In early January during a nice spell of weather that exposed some of our famous potholes, I hit one. Shortly after that the “Service ABS System,” “Service Traction System” and “Service Stability System” warning lights came on in a blinking rotation. Because the weather has been so bad recently, I’m hoping to get some advice on what to look for before crawling under the car. The brakes work fine and I’m still driving the car.

A: Have a shop plug in a scan tool and identify the specific C-series DTC fault codes relating to this issue. The most likely cause is a damaged wheel speed sensor or harness. The information gathered by these sensors and fed to the electronic brake control module determines if ABS or TCS function is appropriate. If the signal from one or more wheel-speed sensors is absent or inaccurate, a fault code is generated, the systems are disabled and warning lights illuminate.

You probably won’t have to crawl under the car. The scan tool should identify which wheel speed sensors are at fault. You can access the sensors and their harnesses by removing the specific wheel in question.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters