The braking system is comprised of several components and processes which work to slow down the vehicle when you step on the brake pedal. You may wonder how the pressure you put on the brake pedal ends up creating the kind of pressure that slows the vehicle down. Well, the brake fluid is how it’s possible because it is a hydraulic fluid which converts the force of the brake pedal into pressure. This pressure allows the brake pads to push against the rotating brake discs, resulting in the wheels slowing down.
It is important that the brake fluid stays intact in the system. If there is a brake fluid leak somewhere, then it will make it difficult to slow down the vehicle. This puts your safety and the safety of other people at risk. You need to identify the cause of the brake fluid leak so that you can remedy the situation.
Top 5 Causes of Brake Fluid Leak
Below are the top 5 causes of a brake fluid leak.
1) Brake Line – The brake line is what transfers the brake fluid and the hydraulic pressure it carries to the wheels of the vehicle. If the brake line were to suffer any damage, no matter how big or small, then it will cause a significant leak that will impair the braking system’s ability to slow down. Whenever you notice a brake fluid leak, you should check the brake line first because that is often the most commonly compromised component of the brake system.
2) Brake Calipers – When you apply foot pressure to the brake pedal, the brake fluid is transferred through the brake line to the brake calipers that are attached to the wheels. The calipers are responsible for pressuring the brake pads to push against the rotating brake discs. If the calipers are damaged in any way, the brake fluid that is transferred to it will leak out.
3) Pistons – Pistons are specific components inside the brake calipers. They are constantly pushing up and down against the brake fluid to give it pressure. If the pistons are damaged or faulty, they may extend to far away from the fluid and cause it to leak out.
4) Brake Master Cylinder – The brake master cylinder is a very important component of the braking system because it turns the force of the brake pedal into the hydraulic pressure needed to slow down the vehicle. There is lots of brake fluid within the cylinder which is sealed inside it. If the seals of the cylinder were to get damaged, then the fluid could leak out.
5) Brake Drums – If you have brake drums in your braking system instead of brake discs, then it is possible for the drums to leak fluid if they’re damaged or worn out. This is a rather uncommon cause, although it does happen in some incidences.
A brake fluid leak will generally cost a few hundred dollars to repair. It really depends on the cause of the leak. After all, certain components cost more to repair or replace than other components. Generally, if you only need to repair a component, then it will always be cheaper than having to replace it. That is why it is good to do something about the leak early on before the damaged component gets in worse shape.
On average, car owners tend to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 to repair the cause of their brake fluid leak. If you want to get into the specific repair cost scenarios, repairing a damaged brake master cylinder will cost about $100 to $200 for the labor and parts. This is about the same cost it would be to repair either of the brake calipers or the brake line. The most affordable situation would be repairing your brake caliper because that only costs about $100 in total.