Parking brake light won't turn off? Before you panic, check the switch

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by jadziasman, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. jadziasman

    jadziasman Prius owner emeritus

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    Today the parking brake light didn't turn off when I released the parking brake. Other than the light staying on, nothing else unusual occurred. I did not notice any indication that the brakes were dragging. The brake fluid level was near maximum.

    After reading earlier Priuschat posts on this subject, I found the cause which apparently is explained in technical service bulletin TSB BR002-07 (Parking Brake Light Won't Go Out | PriusChat)

    Here's what happened to me. For some reason, the entire switch body loosened from the firewall and moved away far enough away from the lever arm such that it couldn't contact the switch and close it when the pedal was released. I think it happened because I pressed the pedal too quickly and with too much force somehow. The switch is at the top of the pedal assembly and it's not too difficult to reach

    So, I pushed the switch back against the lever arm and presto, the brake light turned off as it's supposed to. I tried the parking brake several times and it is fixed for now.

    Now I need to determine how to tighten the switch so it won't move again.
    Any ideas?
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I haven't dealt with this issue before but according to the exploded parts diagram in the Toyota repair manual, the switch is held on with one screw. It looks like the screw has a hex head so if you can get a box or open-end wrench up there maybe you can tighten it.

    If you can't access the screw while the parking brake assembly is in place, then it might be necessary to remove the two bolts and nut that hold the assembly to the car first. However it is not clear whether, to facilitate the removal, the parking brake cable needs to be disconnected from the parking brake assembly first.
     
  3. jadziasman

    jadziasman Prius owner emeritus

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    I have the service manual as well. I noticed this morning that the manual had a section for the parking brake showing that the switch is attached with one fastener to the mounting frame for the pedal linkage. It's the first time it's happened in almost three years I've been driving the car. I use the parking brake all the time so it's strange this problem didn't occur before.

    Oh well. At least it works for now and if I can't get a wrench on it, I'm just going to leave it as it is. There's no way I am going to remove the assembly. Too much work for too little benefit.
     
  4. Dave Jeffries

    Dave Jeffries Junior Member

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    I have a 2005 with 55000 miles on it. In the last month this brake light staying on had started. Use to be you could pull up on the parking brake pedal and it would turn off. Progressed to being on all the time. The switch is suppose to be held in place by one phillips screw. It works loose over time and the other locating "pin"(really a 1/4" circle molded lip) comes out of the metal mounting plate for the parking brake pedal assembly. I loosed the screw until it came out. I taped the switch with the button pushed in. IF the engineers had spec'd a drop of lock tight, this would have been a none issue.
     
  5. jadziasman

    jadziasman Prius owner emeritus

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    I ended up having to do exactly what you did except I used zip ties and electrical tape to close the switch permanently. Now the only problem I have is sometimes not noticing that the parking brake is engaged. The dragging brakes remind me to...duh...release the brake. My 05 will be 10 years young next month.
     
  6. jtrosario

    jtrosario Prius Pioneer

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    Thank You, after seeing some other threads w/$700 dealer repairs mentioned, this is exactly what I needed after my Parking Brake light didn't go off on my 2004 Prius after I did an oil change today. The switch misalignment is easily seen with just the Left Drivers Vent cover assembly removed(the long silver plastic piece that includes the vent cover) and a well directed light, and could easily see how misaligned the parking brake top lever(black) and the switch(silver with the circle moving center part of the switch facing toward the driver's seat) were, as the switch was just lowered below enough for the lever to miss it. Before starting your suggestion, I applied the parking brake to move the black lever out of the way. While squatting outside the car, was able to reach under the dash to behind that switch with my right hand while holding my phone flashlight in my left hand. It moved right into position with some resistance, meaning it's still mostly screwed into place. Could not find nor feel the screw for the switch itself. I'm just happy the light is off for about a 30 minute time investment as I rarely use my Parking Brake and that it SHOULD work OK for my next bi-annual emissions check(Illinois-certain NE and other counties) Anyone reading this can probably get this done in 5-10 minutes.

    P.S. Just hit 250K on 12 years with minimal to no repair work, just brakes, and last year put in new springs and shocks. Amazing car!!
     
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