Brake Fluid Leak Symptoms and Repair Cost

The braking system of a vehicle must always function properly if you want to remain safe behind the wheel. Anytime you have a problem with your braking system, it puts people’s lives at risk. The most common brake system problem is a brake fluid leak. As you know, braking fluid is the hydraulic fluid of your braking system which creates the necessary pressure for several braking components. The 4 main components include the brake master cylinder, rear brake calipers, brake lines, and front brake calipers. Each of these components has brake fluid flowing through them. If one of these components were to get damaged or worn out, then it could potentially leak brake fluid.

5 Bad Symptoms

You’ll know if you have a brake fluid leak because the signs will be obvious. The symptoms will start off less severe and then gradually become more severe as time goes on. If you don’t repair the brake fluid leak, it could jeopardize your ability to slow down the vehicle altogether. This is not a point you want to reach. Just recognize the symptoms as they occur in real-time and then repair the areas where the fluid is leaking from.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a brake fluid leak.

1) Warning Light – Modern vehicles are equipped with computers and sensors which can detect when the brake fluid levels are running low. If you have a brake fluid leak, you can expect a brake warning light to illuminate on the dashboard. This will likely be the first symptom that you’ll notice.

2) Brake Fluid Puddle – Check under your vehicle and see if there is a puddle of brake fluid. You’ll know it is brake fluid because it is usually a light-yellow color. Sometimes it is transparent if the fluid is new. But if it smells like fish, then it is likely brake fluid. If there isn’t a puddle, then look for drips of this fluid coming out of the braking components.

3) Squishy Brake Pedal – The brake pedal should always feel firm. But if it’s starting to feel squishy when you apply foot pressure to it, then air must be inside your brake lines. This is due to fluid leaking out of your brake lines and being replaced with air. The more air that gets in the brake lines, the squishier your brake pedal will feel.

4) Brake Pedal Sinks – Your brake pedal will sink if the brake master cylinder leaks brake fluid. This means the brake pedal will just fall right to the floor as soon as you press it with your foot. The firmness of the brake pedal will no longer be there. Whatever you do, don’t drive your car any further if you notice this problem. Try to pull over safely and get a tow.

5) Bad Braking Performance – There are probably a dozen reasons as to why your braking performance might get worse. But if you have a brake fluid leak, that is definitely one big reason. You need brake fluid to create the necessary pressure which allows your brake pedal to function properly. Without this pressure, your brakes won’t work.

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Repair Cost

The cost to repair a brake fluid leak depends on which component of the braking system is damaged. If the leak is from the brake master cylinder, then the parts will cost between $100 and $200 and the labor will cost between $80 and $140. If the leak is from the brake line, then it will cost between $100 and $200. To repair one side of the brake caliper that is leaking, the parts will cost between $100 and $200 while the labor will cost between $80 and $100. If replacements are needed for any of these areas, then you can expect the parts and labor costs to be higher. In any case, added taxes and fees can be expected on top of the total repair cost.

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