Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Can a Leak in the Brake System Cause Total Brake Failure?

Can a Leak in the Brake System Cause Total Brake Failure?

brake fluid

Although there are several issues that can lead to total brake failure, the most common one is some form of brake fluid leak. When a brake leak is present, it affects the fluid pressure in your system. Since it is that pressure that actually causes your wheels to slow or stop when you activate the brake pedal inside your vehicle, your brakes will fail to engage once the fluid levels are too low. Whether you have a small or severe brake fluid leak, this is an issue requiring your immediate attention because there is little warning for the moment your fluid is too.

Since the potential consequences of leaking brake fluid can be life-threatening, it is vital to check your brake fluid levels regularly. Many experts recommend checking it monthly and additionally every time you open your hood because it is so simple and quick to do (usually, eyeballing the brake fluid reservoir does the trick). If your vehicle develops a brake fluid leak between your regular maintenance checks, however, there are some signals that you should promptly inspect both your brake fluid level and entire system before an issue leads to total brake failure:

  • Your ABS or Brake Warning light on your dash comes on. While this should be a no-brainer, people often ignore such warning lights, thinking that repairs can be put off to another date. When it comes to your brakes, however, never delay what can be done today for tomorrow.

  • Your brake pedal feels softer or “spongy.” If it suddenly requires much less foot pressure to depress your brake pedal, it indicates a severe brake fluid leak problem. This softer feel is due to a loss of pressure in your lines that can easily lead to brake system failure.

  • Your brake pedal goes all the way to the floor. Similarly, if your pedal now goes down much further than normal – perhaps completely to the metal – the pressure in your brake lines is insufficient to work properly. Seek mechanical help immediately.

  • You see brake fluid pooling beneath your engine or by your wheels. It doesn’t matter how big the puddle is or even if it is big enough to qualify as a puddle. If there is brake fluid underneath or around your vehicle, that fluid came from somewhere and indicates a leak. The severity of a leak can worsen with little to no warning, so any leak is worth your prompt attention.

While some vehicles are equipped with fail-safe mechanisms to prevent total brake failure and change such situations into only partial failure with increased stopping times, never take a brake fluid leak lightly. Even a partial brake failure can lead to accidents, and lives have far more merit than the status of your bank account or any inconvenience taking care of the problem may cause. If you suspect your vehicle is leaking brake fluid, call for help at once. Our mechanics will be happy to consult with you about your problem and make any appropriate recommendations for repairs.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
How Long Does a Vacuum Brake Booster Check Valve Last?
The braking system on your car requires a lot of pressure. The vacuum booster is one of the main sources of this pressure. This booster will take the pressure that...
How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...


Related questions

Q: Tried pressing the clutch pedal and it just flew to the floor. It wouldn't come back until I brought it up myself.

Hi. The most likely cause of this problem is the clutch master cylinder has a leak or has just completely failed. The clutch master cylinder gives your clutch pedal the proper pressure to engage the clutch so the transmission can...

Q: What are the signs of brake wear?

Your car has four-wheel disc brakes, which means that each wheel has a rotor and brake pads. There are no drum brakes on your car. In addition, your pads have what are called “audible wear indicators” or “squealers”. These...

Q: brakes to be pushed too much in

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your Honda 2004 Civic. What you are describing may be a sign that you need new brakes. During the inspection, the technician should have noticed if the brake pads are worn. Also,...