Brake/ABS warning checklist

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Pilchard

Member
I've had Brake/ABS warning recently on my 1.4tdi.

A bleep accompanies the rectangular centre panel flashing with the red "Fault in the Brake System". At the same time the amber ASR/ESP symbol comes up on the LH dial, and the amber ABS symbol on the RH dial.
When this does occasionally happen, it is always triggered by pressing the brake pedal, and stays on until I switch off ignition... when it usually (but not always) starts behaving normally when re-started.

The car had new rear brake shoes and a rear cylinder (at same time as cam-belt kit and water-pump) 20 weeks/1250 miles ago at my regular non-specialist garage, and 6 weeks/660 miles ago the same garage stripped and adjusted the rear brakes while carrying out a service.
Since then, the handbrake travel has increased and has to be cranked up pretty high to hold at all.
Brakes seem to be behaving as normal, though have not tested the ABS out.
MOT is due end of November.

Anyone got any ideas as to possible causes, or able to offer a checklist in order to track it down?
 

Andrew

A2OC Donor
Thank you for quoting your A2 model in the first sentence, I wish everyone would adopt this practice. It is so frustrating to read many initial fault posts and have no idea even if it is petrol or diesel, it immediately limits any advice, everyone please note.

I am no mechanic but I would run a scan, it may well shed some light.

Andy
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
Check your brake lights are working.
This could be the cause.
Either both bulbs might have gone, or the brake switch might be failing.

if your brake light bulbs are lighting as they should then it needs a full scan to determine the cause.
Steve B
 

Pilchard

Member
I find I have a (O/S) brake light out. Had not bothered checking as there has been no bulb failure light coming up. So will replace that... when I can get hold of one... and see if this only occasional warning persists. Odd that a failed bulb might trigger Brake & ABS warnings, but there you go. If it persists, then it's a "full scan" I suppose.
I recently had contact with an auto electrician that diagnosed in 5 minutes a problem (failed immobiliser) on my campervan that the AA guy spent 1 hour getting nowhere on... so it might involve a call to him, but....
Is it worth the investment in some basic diagnostic tech for this very hands-on and practical person whose weakness is electronics and electrickery?
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
The reason that this affects the ABS is because the car uses the current drain from the brake lights to sense the brakes being applied. If it does not sense the brakes being applied and yet that car is decelerating then it sees this as a serious fault.

So if the bulbs or the brake switch fail the dash lights up like a Christmas tree, correctly warning you that it thinks that something is seriously wrong.

Steve B
 

Howey

Member
Defo fit 2 new bulbs

Regarding handbrake, its simply needs adjusting now shoes have bedded in, its unavoidable unless the garage risked over adjusting to compensare for bedded in tolerance, but thats a risky business and not how i would do it either (a real risk of setting brakes on fire!) Imagine a quick call to the garage and they will re adjust FOC (thats how most good garages function)
 
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