Is there no separate brake wear warning light?

Hatchman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
______________________________________________________________
For anyone searching in the future.

BRAKE
On the speedo can mean the brake wear sensor has been triggered.

BRAKE WEAR
On the MFI most definitely means your brake wear sensor has been triggered.
______________________________________________________________


My '13 Sportwagen with ~45k threw a nice red BRAKE warning and the MFI claims "BRAKE WEAR"

Looking at the manual the BRAKE indicates either low fluid or a "malfunction". And makes no mention of break wear indication anywhere else in the list of warning lights.

Does anyone know if BRAKE is the correct break wear indicating light or do I have to go hunt some gremlins down since the fluid level is fine.

Perhaps the Manual is wrong?

Haven't been able to check pads yet, hope to do so tonight. From searching it looks like the sensor wire is prone to failure.

Seems odd there is no dedicated break wear indicator like every other car on this planet, but since buying this car I've learned to not expect much from VW.

PICTURE FROM MANUAL
 
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frugality

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none, 2016 GTI
Seems odd there is no dedicated break wear indicator like every other car on this planet, but since buying this car I've learned to not expect much from VW.
Have you noticed that there is no crank on the front of your car, either?

It's called progress, m'boy. Not every car has the exact same collection of idiot lights. And soon, all instrument clusters will be nothing more than a large TFT display (you already see this on high-end cars right now....Cadillac CTS, Lincoln MKS, Tesla, etc.)

There are certain idiot lights that are defined (exact size and shape) by FMVSS regulations -- like the ABS light, BRAKE, traction control light, etc. But FMVSS doesn't require things like break pad wear, so the automakers are free to tell you (or not) however they like.

I had never seen a brake wear indicator light before my Mk4 Golf. I thought that was a nice feature. On most cars, your brake wear indicator was squealing or grinding sounds.
 

meerschm

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Fairfax county VA
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2009 Jetta wagon DSG 08/08 205k buyback 1/8/18; replaced with 2017 Golf Wagon 4mo 1.8l CXBB
the 2013 is a special year.

but that being said, there is a sensor in one of the front brake pads,

and the sensor interprets continuity as ok, so a broken wire would look the same as worn pads.

at least the car told you to check.

(on my 2009, which has a dedicated brake light, it comes on when the parking brake is engaged, and came on when I managed to break the wear sensor wire from the pad. Probably would show up for low brake fluid or other issue as well. same lamp.)
 
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Hatchman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
I have never met a car that has a brake pad wear sensor that doesn't give you a clear indication that it has been triggered.

This thing is giving me a "any part of the brake system could be failing" warning. I don't take the threat of a brake fluid leak lightly.

(BTW, kudos to VW on burying the brake fluid reservoir where you can't read the Max/Min on the side)

Seems odd they wouldn't list the most common brake failure/maintenance need in the manual if that is in fact what this warning is for.
 
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gmcjetpilot

Veteran Member
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Aug 18, 2008
Location
Memphis TN
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2010 JSW TDI DSG Matalic Grey
My '13 Sportwagen with ~45k threw a nice red BRAKE warning and the MFI claims "BRAKE WEAR"

Looking at the manual the BRAKE indicates either low fluid or a "malfunction". And makes no mention of break wear indication anywhere else in the list of warning lights.

Does anyone know if BRAKE is the correct break wear indicating light or do I have to go hunt some gremlins down since the fluid level is fine.

Perhaps the Manual is wrong?

Haven't been able to check pads yet, hope to do so tonight. From searching it looks like the sensor wire is prone to failure.

Seems odd there is no dedicated break wear indicator like every other car on this planet, but since buying this car I've learned to not expect much from VW.

PICTURE FROM MANUAL
First THIS is not needed.

"dedicated break wear indicator like every other car on this planet"

Second, I am going to assume "break" is brake pad.

You say these pad indicators (assume you mean will illuminate a dash warnings) are common or on "every other car on the planet"? What cars have you had that had dedicated brake wear indicators that showed up on the dash and how did it work? Just asking. There are systems, but common is not the word I'd use. I'd use uncommon. I'd say on very some (not all) very high end brand models, made by Lexus, Benz, BMW, Porsche it is available, sometimes as an expensive option.

The two most common brake pad indicators are: 1) visual inspection of the groove in the pad, and 2) the "squealer". You seem like an expert so I won't explain. However if you are not familiar Google it.

To be honest looking for brake pad thickness or depth (especially with open rims, caliper visible) is slightly more difficult than looking to see if your car is dirty and needs a wash. Why add more wires, complexity, weight, cost for something that needs attention every two or three tire changes. Also standard MX schedule has you check brake pad wear every 10K or 20K I recall. You should have had pads and fluids checked 5K ago... If you relying on driving and letting the car lights tell you to service it, that is well in a word, bad.

Brake warning is as the manual says, period. Brake failure indications on these cars has to do more with the complicated sensors, ABS and fluid level sensor, not thickness of the pads which are easily done by VISUAL INSPECTION by scheduled MX... If you want more, sorry. Get a shop manual if you want to learn more about the brakes and how to check or service them.

Even if your pads were worn, you ignored all the noise they were making (squealer), you would still stop, albeit grinding the rivets into the disks, but then you would be at grossly negligent.

Suggest you get a Ross Tech Cable or VAGCOM cable and read the codes. If you plan on being a real VW enthusiast these are invaluable and will pay for their selves.

Last I never have heard of the speed sensors or their wires failing as common, unless they are abused by a mechanic.

PS FYI
1) These cars have very low brake pad wear unless you drive like a moron. 45K pads are not worn. I have 83K and my pads are still good as other report.
2) The back brakes might wear faster then other cars, even faster than the front, due to the bias valve that uses the back brakes more under light stops, to avoid nose dive.
3) You should follow recommended MX schedule, flush your brake fluid with approved VW brake fluid within first 3 years then 2 years thereafter to avoid corrosion. Fluid is hydroscopic and absorbs moisture.

I have never met a car that has a brake pad wear sensor that doesn't give you a clear indication that it has been triggered.

This thing is giving me a "any part of the brake system could be failing" warning. I don't take the threat of a brake fluid leak lightly.

(BTW, kudos to VW on burying the brake fluid reservoir where you can't read the Max/Min on the side)

Seems odd they wouldn't list the most common brake failure/maintenance need in the manual if that is in fact what this warning is for.
Wow you really complain a lot.

"I have never met a car that has a brake pad wear sensor that doesn't give you a clear indication that it has been triggered."
Again that is total drama and exaggeration on your part. I am sorry. Brake pad wear on most cars is by routine maintenance inspections or if you are negligent, the brake squealer.

"This thing is giving me a "any part of the brake system could be failing" warning".
Yep... again get it to service or buy a cable and read the code. Dash lights are not going to give you complete diagnostics. Yes, if you get a brake light comes on you should investigate or bring it in for service. Brake pads by the way are the least likely thing to fail or cause total loss of a system. Again you know the system has redundancies and also an E-brake. There is really nothing even remotely odd about the VW brakes or warnings compared to any other modern car.

"(BTW, kudos to VW on burying the brake fluid reservoir where you can't read the Max/Min on the side)"
I have no problem reading the brake fluid level. The average driver with little to no mechanical skill can do this. You may have no idea of the engineering and design challenges in getting an engine, trans and all the systems under the hood in a compact sleek package. If you are a genius designer, tell us more. I think your complaints are hyperbolic. Where would you mount the brake reservoir? If you have a problem checking breke fluid level, that is on you. Kudos!
 
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frugality

Top Post Dawg
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Location
Spring Lake, Michigan
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none, 2016 GTI
I know of NO CAR that has brake pad or shoe wear indicator in the dash.
As noted, my Mk4 had a break wear idiot light in the cluster. This is common, but not necessarily on all cars. The left front inner pad has the wear sensor wire, since the left front inner pad usually wears the fastest.

Last I never have heard of the speed sensors or their wires failing, unless they are abused by a mechanic.
And these wires to break or short-circuit often. Many cases of it here on this forum. When that happens, most folks use VCDS to turn off the idiot light, and just continue on with those pads until you get the usual audible signals.
 

compu_85

Gadget Guy
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Sep 29, 2003
Location
La Conner, WA
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... None :S
I know of NO CAR that has brake pad or shoe wear indicator in the dash.
Mercedes has had them on their cars since the 70s :eek:

2012 Passats have a "Brake Wear" icon on the cluster, but I don't know if it has a lamp behind it since vw cut the brake wear sensors to save money :rolleyes:

-J
 

gmcjetpilot

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2010 JSW TDI DSG Matalic Grey
Mercedes has had them on their cars since the 70s :eek:

2012 Passats have a "Brake Wear" icon on the cluster, but I don't know if it has a lamp behind it since vw cut the brake wear sensors to save money :rolleyes:

-J
Yes I changed that, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, Audi and others have it. Common? No.
 

gmcjetpilot

Veteran Member
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Location
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2010 JSW TDI DSG Matalic Grey
As noted, my Mk4 had a break wear idiot light in the cluster. This is common, but not necessarily on all cars. The left front inner pad has the wear sensor wire, since the left front inner pad usually wears the fastest.


And these wires to break or short-circuit often. Many cases of it here on this forum. When that happens, most folks use VCDS to turn off the idiot light, and just continue on with those pads until you get the usual audible signals.

Brake right? Ha ha. OK the MK4 has one sensor on the left front. Did not
know. I edited my post, I know they are out there, never had one myself.
As the OP stated every car in the planet has them, which is an exaggeration.
My point is not having this feature is hardly a worry from total brake failure.
Regular MX should be more than sufficient.

As far as speed sensors, i personally have not seen many post about the
speed sensor, but know it will throw a code and not only brakes (ABS) is
effected but stability control. Cheers
 

turbobrick240

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maine
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2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
My '11 has broken brake wear indicator wires at the moment. I had spliced them together when I changed the front pads, and the splice came undone this winter. On my car the red brake light illuminates, and another brake wear symbol appears intermittently on the mfd. This is the first car I've owned with this feature, and since it only accounts for 1 of 8 brake pads, I'm just as happy to have it bypassed.
 

Hatchman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
Phew... is this forum always like this?

Thank you turbobrick for addressing the question. Assuming your MFD is the same as the '13 does it read "Brake Wear"?, thats what really has me confused. Pads and rotors were fine @ 40k. Hoping the sensor wiring has just broken.
 
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turbobrick240

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2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
On my '11 there is a red BRAKE light in the Speedo cluster. The mfd symbol is an orange circle with "pads" around it. I also get an occasions text message on the mfd that says " check brake pads!". I'm going to splice it back together pretty soon here.
 
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Hatchman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
Wow, the driver side caliper on the thing tried to kill itself over the past few months.

Inside pad is worn down far enough to trigger the wear sensor... outside pad is at 75%+. Caliper slide pins must not have been doing their job, will have to source replacements and lube them good.

Pretty damn lucky it was the driver side.

________________________________________________________________
For anyone searching in the future.

BRAKE
On the speedo can mean the brake wear sensor has been triggered.

BRAKE WEAR
On the MFI most definitely means your brake wear sensor has been triggered.
 
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meerschm

Top Post Dawg
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Apr 18, 2009
Location
Fairfax county VA
TDI
2009 Jetta wagon DSG 08/08 205k buyback 1/8/18; replaced with 2017 Golf Wagon 4mo 1.8l CXBB
get new rubber bushings, (the ones the caliper pins slide in) and pay attention to every place the pads sit.

if they are like my 09, the wrong lube will grab the pin vs make it slide.

a dab of good brake silicone is what you want, not a gob of grease.

(this is what I did after mine were grabbing.)
 

Hatchman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
Read your owners manual...............
Sigh... I literally posted the page from the owners manual that shows that the manual does not address brake wear indication at all. Hence the confusion.

To add to the list, every car BMWNA ever imported has had a brake wear sensor, a light that indicates when its triggered, and an owners manual that describes it.

Also my sincerest apologies to you all for using the text formating capabilities of this forum to more accurately describe the BRAKE indication.

Also how can you possibly defend their brake fluid reservoir placement :confused: ? There is room above it to fit a proper reservoir, but instead they re-used some parts to keep things cheap at the expense of good design. They literally buried it by the firewall and used the owners manual to claim "on some models the fluid level is not visible". Bad design is bad design.

I think dieselgate has people a bit on edge and made a bit worse, but there was aways some of it.
Seriously. Do people defend their frozen intercoolers too?

Would love to join the circle jerk but the truth is this car has been a problem since the day we got it and just about every issue boils down to bad design.

In the past 6 months this car has been the most expensive, lowest mileage, newest, and most problematic car I've ever owned. I'm not going to pretend I like this thing.
 
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TDI57

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Columbus, OH
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2013 Golf TDI DSG
Sigh... I literally posted the page from the owners manual that shows that the manual does not address brake wear indication at all. Hence the confusion.

To add to the list, every car BMWNA ever imported has had a brake wear sensor, a light that indicates when its triggered, and an owners manual that describes it.

Also my sincerest apologies to you all for using the text formating capabilities of this forum to more accurately describe the BRAKE indication.

Also how can you possibly defend their brake fluid reservoir placement :confused: ? There is room above it to fit a proper reservoir, but instead they re-used some parts to keep things cheap at the expense of good design. They literally buried it by the firewall and used the owners manual to claim "on some models the fluid level is not visible". Bad design is bad design.



Seriously. Do people defend their frozen intercoolers too?

Would love to join the circle jerk but the truth is this car has been a problem since the day we got it and just about every issue boils down to bad design.

In the past 6 months this car has been the most expensive, lowest mileage, newest, and most problematic car I've ever owned. I'm not going to pretend I like this thing.
Sorry about your experiance you have had with your car.

I can find people that have had similar experiances with just about any car, any make, any time of day.

I have had two Toyota's for example. Toyota, the perfect trouble free car brand, right? Nope. '08 Rav 4. At least 5 recalls, two recalls on the same thing. Just got another one in the mail. Rattles everywhere. Steering column clunking, known issue with shaft, welds break or something. Now it is starting to use oil, even with changing the oil every 5K miles with Mobil 1. Tacoma. Had to fight rust, yes the Tacoma's that had the recall because of the frames rusting out. 7 years and it rusts away? The frame of a truck? really?

Point being is that EVERY manufacturer has its issues, we know VW has plenty.
Certainly sounds like it is time for you to move on.

Good luck and happy motoring in your future with a different manufacturer.
 
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turbobrick240

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Hatchman

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Saratoga Springs, NY
TDI
'13 Sportwagen
The plan was and still is to have the wife run this car into the ground. So I'm unfortunately stuck with the thing for the foreseeable future. Especially considering we bought it about a week before the emissions scandal became public (what a kick in the dick that was).

It's just extremely frustrating to have to spend every other weekend working on a low mileage car. Only to find out that rather than normal wear and tear its just half assed design everyone already knows about.
 
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740GLE

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NH
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2015 Passat SEL, 2017 Alltrack SE; BB 2010 Sedan Man; 2012 Passat,
Have you noticed that there is no crank on the front of your car, either?
Transverse mount engine, the cranks on the side and a standard feature on all manuals since ever, just park it on a hill pointing the right direction :D
 

raider929

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VA
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2011 Golf TDI
Different models/model years have different idiot lights. My '11 Golf just has a BRAKE idiot light, plus an orange symbol and message on the mfd that says check brake pads!.
Same with my '11 Golf. It's annoying to have the red BRAKE idiot light come on for this, makes me thing I didn't fully disengage the parking brake before driving off.

The orange circle on the MFD has been coming on for a while now despite the pads being fine. Maybe I need to go check some wiring to see if something came loose.
 

gmcjetpilot

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Phew... is this forum always like this? Hoping the sensor wiring has just broken.
Phew are you always like this... Really read what you wrote, your histrionics and how you wrote IT.

Really you brought it on yourself. People are trying to help; You got good advice from everyone, and you deserved ribbing.

Cheers.
 
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PoliPino

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Oakland Township, Michigan
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2010 Jetta Sportwagen
I've never seen any Brake Wear indicator on my cluster, nor had the Brake light on any other time than when the parking brake is engaged. Does it even exist on the '10s?

I've had the rear brakes replaced twice. Still on original fronts at 127K miles.
 

ATR

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I've never seen any Brake Wear indicator on my cluster, nor had the Brake light on any other time than when the parking brake is engaged. Does it even exist on the '10s?
I've had the rear brakes replaced twice. Still on original fronts at 127K miles.
I'm pretty sure it does exist. Check out the owners manual for the exact symbol to look out for :cool:
 
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