Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. What Can Cause Brake Fluid to Leak From the Brake System?

What Can Cause Brake Fluid to Leak From the Brake System?

brake fluid leak

The braking system in a vehicle is designed to circulate brake fluid, using it create the pressure against the wheels when slowing or stopping is desired. It is a closed system, which means that the fluid doesn’t evaporate over time and require periodic topping off when it is operating optimally. If you have a brake fluid leak, it is anything but natural and is the result of another problem in your braking system. The only possible exception to this rule is if you’ve recently had parts of your brake system serviced and the brake fluid reservoir is low; this just means that the fluid has naturally settled throughout the system and required a little more to be completely full.

Since a brake leak can lead to brake failure, this is not an issue to take lightly and requires your immediate attention for your own well-being and the safety of others. Here are some of the most frequent reasons why a vehicle may leak brake fluid:

  • Damaged brake lines or fitting: This is a very serious issue that, although inexpensive to fix, can endanger lives if not tended to quickly. You will know if there is a hole in one of the lines or a failed fitting if there is little to no resistance when you press the brake pedal, even after pumping it several times to try and build up pressure.

  • Loose bleeder valves: Also known as bleeder bolts, these parts are situated on the brake calipers and serve to remove excess fluid when servicing other parts of the brake system. If you have recently had a brake fluid flush or other work, the mechanic may not have tightened one of the valves fully.

  • Faulty master cylinder: When brake fluid accumulates on the ground underneath the rear of the engine, the master cylinder is a likely culprit, although it could also indicate an issue with the slave cylinder. With other brake leak issues, the fluid tends to pool near the wheels.

  • Bad wheel cylinder: If you see brake fluid on one of your tire’s walls, then you probably have a bad wheel cylinder if you have drum-style brakes. Another symptom of a brake leak from a wheel cylinder is your car pulling to one side as you drive due to uneven fluid pressure.

If you have seen evidence of your car or truck leaking brake fluid or have checked the levels and found them low, seek help immediately. Our mechanics can come to you for a complete inspection to diagnose the cause of your brake fluid leak.

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

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.


More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....

Related questions

Q: Will I need to change my brake fluid?

Hello. Your emergency brake is not dependent upon using brake fluid as your normal front and rear stopping brakes are. The emergency brake is typically a brake drum with a cable. The damage may not be too bad given the...

Q: 2013 Ford Fiesta has some weird clicking noise.

Hi there. The clicking noise could be coming from the brake pads shifting around when the brake pedal is released. The fluid noise could be just fuel in the tank sloshing around if your fuel level is low. I recommend...

Q: What should I know about the anti-lock braking system?

Your car is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). It’s designed to help you maintain control during certain types of stops. However, it’s not a cure all, and it won’t prevent an accident due to carelessness. Your ABS...