Battery and parking brake light on? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question Battery and parking brake light on?

I have a question regarding my dash indicator lights coming on. I have an 01 with 143,000 km.

While driving on the highway, the battery and parking brake light come on together for a minute and then turn off.
This happened a few weeks back and I didnt' think anything of it. Then last night driving home, it happpend several times.
The lights are not flashing in a pattern, then come on and off sporatically.

Would this be a sign of a weak battery or alternator? The battery was replaced 3 years ago, and I have no mods on the car...

Anyone else have or seen this problem?

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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 05:56 AM
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Not sure about the battery light (may be the battery going or alt) but the brake light is possibly due to low brake fluid. Check the fluid level and also the amount of pad material on your brakes.


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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 08:01 AM
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Alternator is on its way out - replace it sooner rather than later.

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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam Lin View Post
Alternator is on its way out - replace it sooner rather than later.


+1

that's exactly what my 98 Outback did right before leaving me stranded in a not-so-nice part of town right at dusk...
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 04:25 PM
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Yep - it does sound like a power supply problem of some sort. If power is removed/disrupted, the default for the parking brake light is "on". I often remove the ABS fuse when off-road and the parking brake light comes on.

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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-10-2007, 11:57 AM
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brake and batt light

This just started happening to me

Ever resolve this issue? My car forester does the same thing. Both lights come on (brake and batt) at the same time and at start up. They stay lit. If I shut the car off and pop start it start it while moving.. both lights go off at the same time. Very strange. Its cold obviously im hoping its a sensor thing. Maybe I should change the alternator. I have an 04' w/ 56k miles.

Any tips?

Chip
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 05:07 AM
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here we go!

Yeppers! Just took a crap. Low illuminatinon all the dash lights are on but very dim and the tach and speedo are out. The rest of the car seems like its running on a AAA battery no power. Im thinking alternator.
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 07:02 AM
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Definitely sounds like electrical system problems, not brake problems. What does the starter sound like? If the alternator is going bad, your battery would get pretty badly drained after not too long a time.

But back on the subject of brakes. That light is a general purpose brake system problem light. It's not just a signal that you left your parking brake on, though that's certainly its most common indication. Don't take the situation lightly if that light comes on and it's not the parking brake. As Peaty noted, it could be low fluid, which is not a good thing.

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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-27-2007, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lin View Post
Alternator is on its way out - replace it sooner rather than later.

Sam
Yep, another vote for that answer.

The new owner of our wagon rang me up a little while ago with these exact same symptons, I had never seen it before and my only thought was an earthing problem. We had an engone rebuild and sugested it may have been a bad earth somewhere when wiring loom whent back in etc.

Anyway he told me a couple of weeks ago the alternator packed in, and its been perfect ever since. so guess that answered that one.

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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 09:52 AM
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Resurrecting this thread because this just happened to me.

I just pulled into my driveway and noticed the brake light and the picture of the battery lit up in the instrument cluster. Might be just a coincidence, but I also noticed that the A/C didn't seem to be pumping very cold air out of it.

Anyway, I have 103k+ miles on this 2006 and so far it has treated me right. Is there any way (for a non-mechanic) to confirm whether or not it's the alternator other than bringing it to the dealer? And just out of curiosity, what am I likely to be looking at dollar-wise if it is the alternator? Is a Forester much different than any other normal car when it comes to the alternator replacement? Could I have my regular mechanic do it or should I just bring it to the dealer? They've been pretty good to me and so far I've had all my work done there except for my brakes, which my mechanic did for a lot less than the dealer would have.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 09:54 AM
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My guess, the battery or the alternator. The alternator is very easy to replace... IMO. You can see how that's done on my post here. It's for another project, but the alternator had to be removed.

Was the original battery replaced? Has the water level in the battery been checked?

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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 10:08 AM
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Brake light symbol being on is usually an indication of low brake fluid and or low brake pads. When the brake pistons are further out the fluid in the brake reservoir goes down, this is usually a slow process. You can top the master cylinder up if that's the case, but do a brake inspection and determine how much brake material is left, you might be needing a brake service, pads, resurfacing or replacing the rotors etc. When you put new pads in the brake caliper pistons will go inwards pushing fluid back to the master cylinder.
As far as the battery is concerned if it is the original it may be on it's last legs. You can try disconnecting it and hooking it up to a low amperage charger to bring it back to life and wait and see if the light goes out. If after a few days, weeks, months, the battery light comes back on, I'd consider changing the battery.

Keep us posted
Cheers
Doug
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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.5x_sleeper View Post
My guess, the battery or the alternator. The alternator is very easy to replace... IMO. You can see how that's done on my post here. It's for another project, but the alternator had to be removed.

Was the original battery replaced? Has the water level in the battery been checked?
Thanks for the quick reply. It is the original battery, but I haven't noticed any difficulty in starting. It's been a l o n g time since I've added water to a battery. Frankly, I've never paid attention to this one and just looked when you replied and noticed the funky looking caps. I was about to start opening them to check, but figured maybe I ought to wait a bit until things cool down. Are we still supposed to add distilled water (assuming it needs it)?

Looking at your pics, the alternator does look fairly easy to deal with. But I'd rather not have to buy a new alternator and battery.

Finally – and I guess it depends on what the problem is – how "urgent" is something like this? Am I likely to get stranded tomorrow or is this something that could wait until my next service in a few weeks?

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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 10:18 AM
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I've never had a bad alternator, so I'd focus on the battery first.

Not many people check the battery water level, since it's suppose to be "maintenance free"... it's not! I check mine once a year & usually have to add a touch of "distilled" water. Use caution, there is acid there, so if you don't wear glasses, you should have some kind of eye protection. Before you open the access, make sure the top of the battery is clean. You don't want to have stuff falling into the battery. As to filling the battery. When you look into it (with a flash light), you'll see a piece that extends into the water. You only fill to bring the water level up to the botom of that indicator tube & no more! Just for information, if the top of the battery is exposed (dry), the capacity of the battery is greatly reduced & may be permanently damaged.

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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-14-2010, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by good dog View Post
Brake light symbol being on is usually an indication of low brake fluid and or low brake pads. When the brake pistons are further out the fluid in the brake reservoir goes down, this is usually a slow process. You can top the master cylinder up if that's the case, but do a brake inspection and determine how much brake material is left, you might be needing a brake service, pads, resurfacing or replacing the rotors etc. When you put new pads in the brake caliper pistons will go inwards pushing fluid back to the master cylinder.
As far as the battery is concerned if it is the original it may be on it's last legs. You can try disconnecting it and hooking it up to a low amperage charger to bring it back to life and wait and see if the light goes out. If after a few days, weeks, months, the battery light comes back on, I'd consider changing the battery.

Keep us posted
Cheers
Doug
Okay, I just thought of something else. And this is very embarrassing, although I hope it's not related.

The other day I was fixing a flat and while the car was up on the jack (I know, I know, I didn't have jack stands, but as a result of this incident am buying some today), I must have leaned on the vehicle and it slipped off the jack. The left front tire was the missing one and it sort of landed on the rotor. After jacking it back up quickly with a floor jack, I inspected pretty carefully and didn't notice any damage other than a gouge in my driveway. Interestingly enough, the front pads and rotors were just replaced a few months ago, so they're still fairly new. But could that "event" have caused an issue that's making the light come on. Or could it just be a coincidence that the alternator and/or battery is going?

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