Car's brake light comes on at low speeds...WTF?

Gotta 98 Ford Taurus, just tonight on the way home I noticed that the brake light (not the ABS light) comes on just before the car comes to a halt. That’s true regardless of how abrupt the stop is, i.e., during a long slow braking or a sudden braking the brake light comes on only seconds before stopping. The light stays on for only a couple of seconds, then goes out. There’s no pulling, etc., and braking otherwise seems okay. :confused: What could be wrong? If there was a pressure diffential problem, the light would come on during all braking, not just for a few seconds, right? When the car was parked, I used the emergency brake. I don’t usually do this. Could this be related? WTF? :confused: :confused:

You may have an engine vacuum leak, which would cause the brake booster to generate a smaller amount of brake assist. This would make sense because the engine speed is reduced when approaching a stop; vacuum is dependent on engine speed.

That being said, I’m not really sure what the brake indicator actually monitors. I suppose it might monitor brake boost (pressure). Come to think of it, you could have a leaky brake booster. Not a critical problem, but it will increase necessary brake pedal force.

I doubt that it is a brake booster issue, since I am unaware of any car that monitors the vacuum level in the booster.
RTM, it is probably a brake fluid level indicator. As your brakes wear, fluid is transferred from the master cylinder reservoir to the calipers. When the fluid gets low enough the warning light comes on. When you step on the brakes the fluid sloshes forward. When the level is low enough to start, the sloshing will cause the light to come on.
Get your brakes checked ASAP for two reasons. First it is cheaper to fix your brakes before they wear metal to metal, and secondly (and more importantly) the other reason for the level warning light to come on is because you are leaking fluid, and are getting dangerously low. :eek:
No fluid = no brakes.

Thanks. Yep, the fluid was low :o . I didn’t buy the car new and didn’t know it had a fluid level float. The owner’s manual didn’t mention it, although I didn’t go through it completely. Thanks, Ford, for not being clear about that! :mad: Thing is, I don’t remember if I checked the brake fluid when I got the car last September. I like to think I would have, in which case I would also have filled it up (can’t see checking it and then forgetting). If I didn’t and the brakes just wore, time for new brakes (I got the car from my parents and would be surprised if they ever checked the fluid). If I did fill it, there’s no way the brakes could have worn that much in 15k miles, in which case I got a leak. Damn…