I just got my first truck... it's a '92 Ford Explorer.

It has the Red Brake Light and Yellow Rear Antilock lights on at all times.

I've read online multiple times that this means something about being low on fluid? It appears to me that my brake fluid container under the hood is at just the right level..

Earlier I was driving in the rain. I've never really driven a heavier truck in these conditions... and needless to say, I took a right turn at about 15MPH and totally fishtailed.

It was all very slow, but still quite scary for me. The back end went wayyy left and the car kept going straight. Since I've never experienced this, I kinda slammed on the brakes.

Luckily, since I wasn't going too fast, the weight of the front right tire hitting the curb was enough to stop me. I simply reversed and continued down the road, taking it much much slower this time around.

However.. why did it do this? I wasn't going fast at all. I might be wrong about this, but I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary.

Does the Rear Antilock light being on somehow relate to this since it's a Rear Wheel Drive?

After that happened, I went to the gas station and checked the tire pressure. On the driver's side door sticker it said Front and Back tires should be 30 PSI so I did that. They were all filled to around 30PSI I believe.

The tires look fine and have decent tread.. but they could be a bit older and needing some replacement, regardless of how good the tread is, ya know?

But... I just wanted to know if the Rear Antilock light somehow related to this dangerous fishtail... I could have hurt myself or someone else!

Anywho... why are these 2 lights on and how can I go about troubleshooting them?! Thanks everyone!

1 Answer 1


A problem with the anti-lock braking system will not have caused the issue you are describing. What you are describing can be attributed to about one of two things (or a combination of the two):

  • Driver inexperience in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Since the vehicle is rear-wheel drive, it will want to kick out faster than a front wheel drive vehicle will. This is made easy by the Ford V6 engine (assuming this is what you have) as they seem to be torque monsters. You just have to be careful coming out of wet corners. Don't apply as much power coming out of a wet corner.
  • Poor tires. - While you said there seems to be good tread on your tires, you may want to have the tread depth measured. There may be less there than what you think.

I'm sure once you get used to the vehicle, these types of situations will not recur.

As for the brake lights on the dash, you'll need to get them read to know what's going on. The brake light (red one) may be because the float in the reservoir is stuck in the down position. Giving the reservoir a couple of light taps with a screwdriver handle (I mean light ... don't go wailing on the thing) can sometimes free this up. If that doesn't solve the issue, check to ensure none of the brake lights are out. And I mean all of the brake lights. If you have a single one out, even though several others are lit in the same space, it can cause your dash light to turn on.

If none of those pan out, you'll need to take your Explorer to a shop and have the codes read. Then you can take it from there.

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