5 Brake Fluid Leak Causes and Fixes

The braking system in your vehicle is made up of a number of different components. When you press on the brake pedal, everything from the master cylinder to the brake lines to the brake pads and calipers have to operate seamlessly to bring the vehicle to a complete halt.

However, if you don’t have enough braking fluid in your engine, they won’t be able to do their job in tandem.

You have seen dots of a light yellow to brownish fluid beneath your car, near the wheel, over the last few mornings. You bend down to feel the patch, the fluid leaves a slick residue on your finger.

You are worried about what that could do to your vehicle and wonder if it’s brake fluid dripping from your car’s brake system. Without correctly working brakes, a car cannot be powered.

If the braking mechanism ever fails, it may very well be due to a brake fluid leak. A leak may occur in one of four places in the braking system. One may be in the brake master cylinder, front brake caliper, brake line, or rear brake caliper.

Irrespective of where the leak is originating from, the signs of a brake fluid leak should help you identify the issue.

What is Brake Fluid and How Does It Work?

First and foremost: Before we get into what triggers a brake fluid leak and how to repair it, you should have a basic understanding of what brake fluid is and how it functions.

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that is used in nearly all modern automobiles’ braking systems. Since these devices are hydraulic, you won’t be able to use them until you have the appropriate amount of brake fluid in your vehicle.

Brake fluid is a nearly clear liquid with a faint yellow hue that is used to create friction in the brake system. This pressure is applied to the braking system’s brake pads to force them into contact with the rotors.

Simply by pressing down on the brake pedal, you can slow the car down and gradually bring it to a full halt. Your brake fluid aids in the production of friction, which is what gets the job done.

Keeping this in mind, it should be clear that a brake fluid leak is such a big concern. Even if brake fluid is not often considered the most valuable fluid in a vehicle, many people would convince you that it is because it is so important to the braking system. Without the proper amount of brake fluid, your braking system will be made ineffective.

Signs of a Brake Fluid Leak

  • Warning Lights

The first indication to look for is the brake indicator light on your dashboard switches on. At this point, you cannot even see any major brake issues. However, if the alarm light illuminates, it is an early sign that something is wrong with your brakes, and you can pull over and get them checked straight away.

  • Peculiar Brake Pedal Feel

Only brake fluid should be contained inside the brake lines. If there is a brake fluid spill and air mixes with the fluid in the brake lines, the fluid will not flow properly. As a consequence, pressing your foot on the brake pedal will feel squishy or spongy. To put it another way, the brake pedal would be very soft. (spongy brake pedal)

  • Brake Pedal Goes Too Low

This issue is related to the second item on the list. If air begins to enter the brake lines when a leak exists, airborne particles will enter the braking system.

Furthermore, condensation can develop, causing the brake pedal to slowly move all the way down as you push it. When you’ve fixed the leak, “bleed the brakes” and clear all air from the brake lines and refill all of the existing braking fluid with new.

  • Visible Fluid Coming Out

You have a brake fluid leak if you see fluid leaking from under your car (particularly across your wheels) and you’ve already encountered one of the first three signs. 

You can pull over immediately to check the brake fluid level, then either drive or have it towed to a mechanic (depending on the magnitude of the leak). The more fluid that leaks out, the less fluid you’ll have in your brake system, which makes it riskier.

  • Car Does Not Stop

The most obnoxious sign would undoubtedly be noticed. You could not have reached this stage without first feeling the preceding signs. However, if you neglect those signs, the brakes will inevitably fail completely.

Then you’ll find yourself going without the power to brake. Of course, this may result in a traffic crash, which can result in vehicle damage as well as serious injury or worse.

ProTip: Take the car for servicing as soon as you detect a defect in the braking in order to avoid accidents caused by faulty braking systems.

Fixing it By Yourself

Hydraulic brake fluid that has been specially designed to have superior performance.

As opposed to standard DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluids, Johnsen’s Silicone DOT 5 Brake Fluid is basically non-hygroscopic, absorbing less than 1% by weight of water, is suitable for drum and disc brakes is not to be used in ABS systems, and provides 500°F protection.

DOT5 brake fluid performs exceptionally well under extreme temperatures and is totally impervious to water in the brake lines. As a result, it is an appealing choice for any pilot.

If your car isn’t equipped to handle silicone-based brake fluids, though, adding it to your system can create more problems than it solves.

ProTip: It is normally preferable to have the brake fluid changed by a professional technician rather than attempting to do so yourself.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Brake Fluid Leak?

When it comes to repairing a brake fluid spill, it can be impossible to estimate the precise costs. However, we will give you a rough estimate of how much it would cost to stop your brake fluid from leaking.

Consider the case of a brake caliper that is leaking brake oil. Repairing it would cost between $200 and $300, and replacing it would cost between $250 and $400.

Let’s presume the brake fluid is leaking because of a faulty master cylinder. In any scenario, you can expect to spend between $180 and $350 to patch it or between $400 and $500 to rebuild it.

The total cost of repairing a brake fluid leak would be determined by the nature of the problem. It would all rely on the brake mechanic you employ, the make and model of your vehicle, and other factors.

ProTip: The earlier you take the car to be fixed the cheaper the repairs will cost.

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