There are a handful of different parts that make up your car’s braking system. From the master cylinder and the brake lines to the brake pads and the brake calipers, all of these parts have to work together to bring your car to a complete stop when you step on your brake pedal. But they aren’t going to be able to do their respective jobs in unison if you don’t have enough brake fluid in your car. It’s why you need to look out for any signs of a brake fluid leak to ensure that you always have enough brake fluid in your car at any given time. Discover more about the importance of brake fluid below before learning about how to stop a brake fluid leak from taking a toll on your vehicle.
What Is Brake Fluid?
First things first: Before we get into talking about what causes a brake fluid leak and how to fix it, it’s important for you to know what brake fluid is and how it actually works. Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that is found inside of the braking systems in almost all vehicles these days. These systems are hydraulic systems, and as a result, it’s impossible for you to put them to good use without having the right amount of brake fluid in your car.
Brake fluid is an almost-clear fluid with a slight yellow tint to it that is used to build up pressure in your braking system. This pressure is used to push down the brake pads in your braking system so that they come into contact with your rotors. This is how you’re able to slow your car down and eventually bring it to a complete stop simply by pushing down on your brake pedal. It’s the pressure that your brake fluid helps produce that gets the job done.
With this in mind, it should be pretty easy to see why a brake fluid leak is a big deal. Although brake fluid isn’t always regarded as the most important type of fluid in a car, a lot of people will tell you that it is because of how essential it is to your braking system. Your braking system would literally not work at all without the right amount of brake fluid in it.
What Happens If the Brake Fluid Is Low in Your Car?
If you ever have a brake fluid leak in your car, you’re going to want to spring into action right away to fix it. Reason being, your car’s braking system isn’t going to do you much good without the right amount of brake fluid in it. Fortunately, your braking system should continue to work just fine when your system first springs a leak. But over time, it’s going to get to be more and more difficult to bring your car to a stop because of a brake fluid leak.
The good news is that you’re not going to have to worry about filling your car up with brake fluid very often as long as you don’t have a leak in your braking system. Most car owners will only have to flush and replace brake fluid about once every five years or so. But you should keep an eye out for any signs of a brake fluid leak since that could force you to make repairs to your car so that it doesn’t continue to leak brake fluid. The sooner you can catch this issue, the sooner you’ll be able to get your braking system working in the way it should again.
What Are Some Signs of a Brake Fluid Leak?
At this point, you know how important brake fluid is to your car. You also know how important it is to fix a brake fluid leak right away. But what you might not know is how to spot a brake fluid leak so that it doesn’t get to be out of control. There are actually quite a few signs that will show you that you have a problem with your car’s brake fluid.
The most common sign of a brake fluid leak is going to be your car’s brake warning light popping on. Although this will come on anytime you’re experiencing issues with your car’s braking system, it’ll usually come on to indicate a problem with your brake fluid first and foremost. You’re going to want to peek under your car to see if that might be the case. Here are some other signs of a brake fluid leak:
- You see brake fluid leaking from the bottom of your car and forming a puddle underneath of it
- You notice that your brake pedal feels very squishy when you push down on it
- You feel your brake pedal going all the way down to the floor when you step on it
- You don’t feel like your brakes are bringing your car to a stop as quickly as they normally do
As you might guess, the severity of your brake fluid leak is usually going to play a part in what signs you see. A small leak in your braking system is going to result in a small amount of brake fluid leaking under your car. But a larger leak could leave you struggling to bring your car to a stop when you step on the brake pedal. It’ll be up to you to diagnose the severity of your brake fluid leak based on which signs you see.
What Causes a Brake Fluid Leak?
If you see any of the signs listed above and suspect that you might have a brake fluid leak on your hands, you might wonder what in the world could be causing it. And the truth is that it could be any number of things. It’s going to be important for you to figure out why your brake fluid is leaking so that you can get it fixed quickly and not have to worry about it anymore.
Check out a few of the things that could result in a brake fluid leak:
- Master cylinder leak
- Brake line leak
- Brake caliper leak
More often than not, it’s going to be a brake caliper leak that will lead to a brake fluid leak. Most brake technicians will start there when looking for the source of a brake fluid leak and move up the list that we just mentioned. But since there are so many different parts in your braking system, it could be any number of things causing your brake fluid to leak. Identifying the culprit will be an essential part of fixing the problem once and for all.
Can You Just Add Brake Fluid to Your Car to Combat a Leak?
If you have a relatively minor brake fluid leak on your hand, you might be tempted to simply fill up your car with brake fluid every now and then to combat it. And that will, for the time being at least, allow you to deal with your brake fluid leak without fixing the underlying issue that’s causing it. But you shouldn’t continue to do this for too long for a number of reasons.
First, if you get into the habit of adding brake fluid to your car to “fix” a brake fluid leak, your car is going to keep on leaking brake fluid as you add it to your car. That’s going to result in brake fluid spilling out all over your driveway and making a mess. It’s also going to result in it doing harm to the environment for as long as you allow it to leak. And that won’t be the only problem that you’ll face.
If you continue to drive a car with a brake fluid leak and top off the brake fluid every so often, it could also lead to further problems with your brakes. There is a good chance that a small leak is going to transform into a much larger leak over time and make it impossible for you to keep up with your leaking brake fluid. You’re going to be tempting fate if you don’t take your car in to have your braking system inspected and fixed.
For all of these reasons, you shouldn’t combat a brake fluid leak by topping your brake fluid off every few days or so. This might give you some time to schedule repairs. But you’re going to put your car and potentially yourself and other drivers into harm’s way if this is your long-term fix.
How Can You Fix a Brake Fluid Leak?
To fix a brake fluid leak, you’ll want to arrange to have a brake technician take a closer look at your car to diagnose exactly what’s wrong with it. You’ll then want to have them make the necessary repairs to it to fix your brake fluid leak. There are a number of things that they might have to do to repair your braking system so that it stops leaking brake fluid.
Take a look at a few of the repairs that they might recommend:
- Repair or replace brake calipers
- Repair a brake line leak
- Repair or replace a master cylinder
At the end of the day, the repair job that your brake technician recommends is going to depend on what specifically is causing your brake fluid leak. You could be looking at paying under $100 in some cases and several hundred dollars in others. The condition of your car’s braking system will help dictate the final cost.
What Will It Cost to Fix a Brake Fluid Leak?
It’s a little bit difficult to pinpoint the exact costs you’re going to face when fixing a brake fluid leak. But we can give you a general idea of what you’re going to need to pay to make your brake fluid leak a thing of the past.
Let’s say that you have a brake caliper that’s leaking brake fluid. That’s going to cost you anywhere from $200 to $300 to repair it or anywhere from $250 to $400 to replace it. Or let’s say that you have a master cylinder that is causing your brake fluid leak. In that case, you’re going to be looking at paying anywhere from $180 to $350 to repair it or somewhere between $400 and $500 to replace it.
The total cost to repair a brake fluid leak is going to depend on the problem you’re experiencing. It’s also going to depend on things like the brake technician that you hire, the make and model of your car, and more.
Is the Cost of Fixing a Brake Fluid Leak Worth It?
Is your plan to keep your current car for the immediate future and continue to drive it around? Then you’re going to find that you don’t really have a choice but to pay to have a brake fluid leak fixed. It’s not practical to continue putting more and more brake fluid into your car, and it’s also not smart at all to drive a car with a brake fluid leak for any longer than you have to.
At the same time, you might find that repairing a brake fluid leak isn’t going to be worth it to you if you have an older car with lots of issues. Fixing a brake fluid leak could cost you hundreds of dollars and still leave you with a car that has all kinds of other problems that need to be fixed. In this case, you might want to consider getting rid of your car rather than repairing it because of a brake fluid leak.
Is Selling a Car With a Brake Fluid Leak Possible?
If your car is leaking brake fluid at the moment and you’ve had enough of it, you might wish there was a way to get rid of it in a hurry. And guess what? There is. Believe it or not, a brake fluid leak isn’t going to stop you from selling your car if you want to do it. You can actually get some very fair offers for your car if you want to get a sense of how much your car might be worth.
Truth be told, it might not be easy to sell your car to a private buyer. But most junk car buyers will be happy to pay you cash for your car, in spite of your brake fluid leak. Cash Cars Buyer is one such junk car buyer. We can pay you top dollar for your old car and help you avoid having to pay to have a brake fluid leak fixed. Contact us now for more information on how you can sell your car quickly for cash.