Emergency Brake Light

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I own a 1996 Pontiac Grand AM SE, with 126,000 miles on it.

It's been a great car since I got it, 6 months ago, until the past 2 weeks.
First off, I bought new tires...3 days later, I had to replace both rear drums...3 days later, I had to replace a sensor *I don't know the correct name for it, but it controls speeds*

Then, last nite, I noticed that my emergency brake light was on *my emergency brake wasn't on it. I checked and double checked*, and that my temperature gauge was dimmed, along with my headlights being dimmed.

EDIT: I was driving just now; I drove over a very tiny bump *which is normal; PA roads are crazy*, and my headlights went off, and would not come back on. And the 'LOW TRAC' sign kept coming on. *I read in my owner's manual that when that sign appears, it means low traction on the tires. But um, my tires are BRAND NEW. I just got them a lil over a week ago*.

Someone please tell it's not the computer going bad...please. Because I was told by the machanic that if the sensor didn't fix the problem, my computer was going bad. The sensor fixed the speeds and all of that. So, please tell me it's not the computer! /END EDIT/

Can anyone help me by telling me what could be wrong, and possibly telling me some prices? I'm very low incomed right now, because I'm disabled, so I can't afford high prices. I really can't afford $5 for now, but I do have a credit card. Anything you can do to help, I'll be grateful.

EDIT: Thank you to everyone for helping me; giving me your opinion. It has been greatly appreciated!

So, my Uncle took my car this morning. He checked everything, and couldn't figure out what was wrong. So, he decided to check the brakes *which he told me, I'd need new ones in about 3 months; he told me this 2 weeks ago*, and found out that they are far worse than originally thought *getting new ones next week*, and decided to check the fluids *he checked them last month, and they were fine* and found out that the brake fluid was low. He filled it up, and now, everything's back to normal.

Cars are funny things, aren't they? We both feel really stupid right about now, but better safe than sorry...and there's never too many possibilites to consider!

Again, thanks everyone! /END EDIT/

posted by  jlynnek

1 brake light could be low brake fluid in reservoir caused by evaporation/lack of checking or leaking brake line or front caliper or rear wheel cylinder(drum brakes)or faulty park brake switch or park brake not returning to fully released position

2 low trac is a special feature on the transmission if one wheel spins(lost traction) the other wheel is not turning it will apply the brake to the spinning wheel to transfer power to the wheel not spinning(this was a very simple explanation to keep it simple)
3 headlights out could be a bad ground wire or blown fuse
do the lights work with the switch not the daytime running lights

(wheel speed sensor). which wheel had the sensor replaced. this sensors is for the low trac on the front wheels as well for the anti lock brake system. you may need another for the opposite wheel (left front right front) each wheel has a speed sensor

any question just post someone will answer :thumbs:

posted by  osborste

It's not that the headlights don't work, they're a very dim. Picture this....you have your emergency brake on, your headlights, gauges, etc., aren't lit up, correct? Ok...my thing is, my emergency brake IS NOT on/up, but my car is registering it was being on. Because my gauges aren't off, my headlights aren't off. The only thing that is completely off is the temperature gauge; the rest are just dimmed.

The headlights only went off when I hit a dump. My car automatically has lights. I never have to turn a switch on or off. *If that makes sense, I'm not sure*. I also have fog lights that automatically stay on.

As for the sensor, I don't think it's a wheel sensor. It was a sensor that controls the rpms, the speed, etc. Picture this, you're in your car...not driving, just starting up..So, while the car's in park, you hit your gas pedal *for whatever reason*, and your rpms go up, but the speed doesn't, correct? That's what was wrong with mine, except mine was in driving mode. That's what was replaced in my car.

As for the low trac, it only flashes for a sec or so. Um, I'm not concerned with that. I was thinking maybe the computer was shorting out, or something. So, the car's reading and doing stuff that it shouldn't.

I don't know. I'm not skilled in fixing cars, nor knowing part names. That's just me. I have an Uncle who fixes cars, but he's very sketchy, so I thought I'd try here.

Thanks for replying!

posted by  jlynnek

It's not that the headlights don't work, they're a very dim. Picture this....you have your emergency brake on, your headlights, gauges, etc., aren't lit up, correct? Ok...my thing is, my emergency brake IS NOT on/up, but my car is registering it was being on. Because my gauges aren't off, my headlights aren't off. The only thing that is completely off is the temperature gauge; the rest are just dimmed.

The headlights only went off when I hit a dump. My car automatically has lights. I never have to turn a switch on or off. *If that makes sense, I'm not sure*. I also have fog lights that automatically stay on.

have you checked any fuses the wireing diagram show the heater/ac fuse also supplies power to the daytime lights(drl)
headlights are on a cuircut breaker
fog lights have ther own fuse
and check the gauge fuse for the gauge lights
if one of these are blown the power maybe back feeding throught the wireing looking for ground lighting light but dim

the speed sensor then was for the transmission/vehicle speed to speedo

posted by  osborste

The brake light on could also be the switch on the parking brake lever or pedal(don't know which it has) being either out of adjustment or just bad, which could send a bad signal to the drl system. You may have a bad sensor on the anti lock system causing the traction system to malfuncion. As for not having to turn on the headlights that is only if you have the twilight system. If you do not have that system you are driving around without tail lights and that is very dangerous. :2cents:

posted by  srober32

Thanks for your imput. I'm getting it looked at tomorrow. As for the tail lights, got 'em. Work perfectly, all the time. So, maybe I do have the system? I couldn't say for sure. I sort of got it out of a private auction..or rather, my Uncle did, and I bought it from him.

I also think that this car was originally a 5 speed, that was transformed into an automatic. It just has that feel to it. It's weird.

Other than the problems I've been having lately, it runs perfectly, has loads of power, and sounds like a race car. I drive it like a race car, as well...my led foot hasn't got me in trouble....yet.

Again, thanks for your imput, and I do in fact have tail lights. As I said, I'm not equipped with cars, so I, very politely, don't know jack about it.

Ohh, yeah, and it's a lever emergency brake.

posted by  jlynnek

Exactly, it was the speed sensor *is that the correct name for it?*. Cost me $127.00, for a tiny part.

posted by  jlynnek

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