When it comes to vehicle maintenance, one important area that should never be taken for granted is your brakes. However, maintaining them properly is more than just replacing the pads and rotors from time to time. Check for signs that your vehicle might be leaking brake fluid, because if it is and nothing is done to fix it, you run the risk of getting stranded at the worst possible time. . How do you know if you have a brake fluid leak and what is causing it?
What to look for if you have a brake fluid leak
We often know there is something wrong with our brakes when we start to feel them go soft, vibrate, make a squealing noise, or pull to one side when we apply the brake. What few people realize is that when something goes wrong with one of your brake parts, it will start to leak.
You will notice a puddle of water forming on the ground under your vehicle. However, it can be difficult to determine if the fluid is coming from your brakes, as the fluid may be clear or brown in color or in some cases even yellowish. The biggest telltale signs that it’s brake fluid are how thin the fluid is (compared to thicker liquids like motor oil) and where it’s located near the tires.
When left unchecked, fluid loss will cause a loss of brake pressure, which provides stopping power to the brakes on all four wheels. With this pressure, your brakes will eventually fail to stop when you need them most.
Common causes of brake fluid leaks
Brakes are essential for safety when driving your vehicle, so keeping them in good working order is essential. According to Access Auto Insurance, three things could cause a brake fluid leak. These include:
- A problem occurring in one of the major components. The master cylinder, wheel cylinders, rubber hoses or calipers can crack or break, causing fluid to leak onto the floor. This can come from normal wear or even from a defect in the parts.
- Worn brake pads or shoes. Brake pads, shoes, rotors and drums can wear out over time. This can cause the calipers to hyperextend, which would break the seal, causing fluid to leak, according to Repair Smith.
- Damaged or loose purge valves. The bleeder valve is what releases air from the brake system. If it breaks or loosens, fluid will leak out.
Maintaining your brakes is crucial so that they don’t get too worn or damaged. If you just bought a used car, you might want to check the brakes because owners rarely replace the brakes when selling the vehicle.
The last thing you want to do is drive a vehicle that is leaking brake fluid. You need your brakes to stop, and if the car can’t brake, you run a serious risk of colliding with another vehicle or against an object like guardrails. It is dangerous, especially if you are driving at high speed. If you notice that your car is leaking brake fluid, you will need to have it checked out immediately.
However, you don’t want to drive it to the mechanic’s shop because your brakes might fail along the way. It is better to take a tow truck and have it transported to the repair shop. They can examine the brakes, see what’s causing the leak, and fix it right away before you get back behind the wheel.
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