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Q: Brake pedal not working.

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The brake pedal goes all the way to the floor. I had to use the emergency brake to get home when I bought it.

A: Hello! It sounds as if you had quite a harr...

Hello! It sounds as if you had quite a harrowing drive home! Given the van is new to you, we don’t have the advantage of knowing the full service history, so I will try to cover as many options as possible. A low brake pedal is a symptom of a failure somewhere in the brake hydraulic system. The easiest test that you can perform is to verify the master cylinder has the appropriate amount of brake fluid. This is relatively easy to do. After lifting the hood, find the master cylinder reservoir located nearest the driver side inner fender. Remove the cap, and verify the fluid is between the “MIN” and “MAX” line. If it is, it is possible the master cylinder has failed and will need to be replaced. If it is not, it may be time to enlist the help of a qualified technician. Because brake fluid is not supposed to be consumed, the lack of fluid indicates a potential leak. Leaks in the brake system can occur just about anywhere, from rubber hoses and seals, to steel lines rusted from road salt, to calipers or wheel cylinders failing with age. The good news is these components are relatively inexpensive to replace, and can usually be done in short time by a technician worth his salt. I would recommend scheduling a brake system inspection to confirm the point of failure, and get a better idea of the cost and time involved to repair your Aerostar to like-new brake performance!

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