Any issue with your brakes, especially leaking brake fluid is serious. You should never attempt to drive your vehicle if you suspect you have a brake fluid leak since your vehicle’s brake system works on hydraulic pressure. Your brake fluid is the hydraulic fluid which maintains the pressure. Consequently, brake fluid leaks will result in a drop in pressure and possibly brake failure.
Identifying Brake Fluid Leaks
Normally, brake fluid leaks are rare but you should check your brake fluid reservoir on a regular basis to ensure there is enough fluid in the braking system. If you have a brake fluid leak, however, you will find traces of a clear to brown or a slightly yellowish slick stain near a wheel or in the area directly under the brake pedal.
The Most Common Causes of Brake Fluid Leaks
There is a number of causes for brake fluid leaks which you need to have repaired immediately since insufficient brake fluid means that your brakes will not operate properly, which can be extremely dangerous. The cause of a leak could be a damaged reservoir, valve, brake line, caliper, wheel cylinder or brake hose.
Master Cylinder Reservoir
The brake fluid reservoir attached to the master cylinder is constructed out of plastic and naturally, it eventually becomes brittle due to heat exposure. Consequently, the reservoir can crack, leaking brake fluid down the back of your vehicle’s engine.
Bleeder valves are located on each caliper so that air can be bled out of the lines. If these valves are damaged or loose, the brake fluid can leak out.
The brake lines on your vehicle are made of both rubber and steel. They transfer fluid to and from the master cylinder. We have found that both types of lines can wear out or get damaged, resulting in steady leaks of brake fluid.
The wheel seal on drum brakes is one of the most common sources of brake fluid leaks. Wheel seals eventually get worn out through normal use and begin to leak brake fluid.
Brake calipers have pistons which are activated by brake fluid. The calibers have seals which keep the fluid in while your piston is moving. Like all seals, they can be damaged, resulting in a brake fluid leaks.