How to Reset the Low Brake Fluid Light in a Chevy Venture

by Kyle McBride

The brake warning light on the instrument panel of your 2005 Chevrolet Venture warns you of more than just low brake fluid. To make the light to go out, you have to determine what brake problem exists and fix it. The brake light illuminates for about three seconds when you first start the van, but should go out. If it stays illuminated, the system is detecting either low brake fluid or that the parking brake is engaged.

Parking Brake

Verify that the parking brake is disengaged. Set it and release it again just to be sure. Put your right foot on the brake pedal and use your left foot to push the parking brake pedal down. When you release the parking brake pedal, it should stay depressed when the parking brake is engaged. Continue to hold down the brake pedal and press the parking brake pedal again. When you release the parking brake pedal, it should pop up to its resting position when the parking brake is disengaged.

Low Brake Fluid

Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. The master cylinder is in the engine compartment high on the firewall on the driver side. Chevy cautions against adding fluid as a solution, however, since a fluid level low enough to illuminate the brake light indicates a problem with the brakes. The brake fluid level will go down as the brake linings wear, but normal wear lowers the fluid to a still acceptable level. If the fluid is lower than an acceptable level -- low enough to illuminate the warning light -- it might be that the brake linings are worn beyond their useful life or you have a leak in the system. Either way, your brakes need attention because an unsafe condition exists. Add DOT3 fluid to get the Venture to your mechanic if tackling a brake job is beyond the scope of your abilities.

Brake Fluid Level Indicator Switch

If the brake fluid isn't abnormally low, but the system thinks it is, the problem may be the switch that monitors the brake fluid level. To change the switch, disconnect the electrical connector on the side of the master cylinder. Use a pair of needlenose pliers to squeeze the locking tab on the outboard side of the cylinder to remove the switch. Press the new switch into the master cylinder until it snaps into place, then reconnect the electrical connector.

Parking Brake Switch

If the parking brake lever isn't depressed but the system thinks the parking brake is engaged, the problem may be the switch that monitors the position of the lever. Find the switch mounted to the inboard side of the lever mechanism. Remove the lower dash panel and the door sill to get to the switch. Disconnect the electrical connector and take out the screw holding the switch to remove it. Install the new switch and tighten the screw to 27 inch-pounds. The whole operation should take you less than an hour.

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