Why Is Your Brake Fluid Leaking And How Do You Stop It?

The brake system has a unique warning system that shows up as a red light on your dashboard. However, by the time the light comes on it could be too late. It is a good idea to check your fluid levels as a regular part of your vehicle's maintenance plan. Several things could be the culprit causing the light to flash, but a common problem is leaking brake fluid. Some leaks are simple to find, but others may be more time consuming to define.

Locate the Problem

The process could be as simple as filling the brake fluid reservoir, and being sure the lid is tightly closed. If that is okay, you may need to check the gaskets and the rubber tubing that supplies the fluid to the brake system unit. Look under the hood to see if any visible tears are evident before you continue to follow the lines.

Check the master cylinder to each of the car's wheels to see if there are any rusted areas around the metal fittings or lines. Read the owner's manual if you aren't sure where the cylinder is located. You may need to check the Internet if you can't locate a manual. Use a light to locate any areas where the fluid has sprayed or puddled.

Try pumping the brake pedal to see if the leak is obvious. Be sure the car is off and proceed to see if you can locate where the fluid may be squirting from under the car. If it is not evident where the leak is located, try placing cardboard or newsprint under the vehicle while the car is parked.

You might need to remove the wheels to see if the leak is located in the calipers or lines of the wheel cylinder. The brake drum might need to be removed.

Repair the Damaged Unit

Once you have located the problem, you can rebuild the part. Most mechanics will not replace the entire unit. It may only require repairing the brake caliper piston, master cylinder, or wheel cylinder. Kits are available to rebuild each of these units and will include complete instructions to ensure you understand the procedure.

These are the basics of locating brake fluid leaks and should be all you need to proceed. However, if you are unsure of how to do the work, it may be a good idea to call in a team of mechanics that are trained in auto repair.