Why Is Your Vehicle Leaking Brake Fluid: How to Identify and Fix It?

Brake Fluid Pipe Line Leak

Modern vehicles are equipped with hydraulic brakes. Because hydraulic brakes are more effective than older technology. Fluid plays an important role in hydraulic brakes, exerting pressure on the brake caliper piston when braking, which squeezes the brake pads on the caliper rotor and forces the rotor to stop with friction.

But sometimes due to some reason the brake fluid starts leaking, due to which the braking system of the vehicle does not work properly and if the brake fluid leakage is not stopped on time, the entire braking system fails. Therefore, we will learn in detail about the causes, identification and repair process of brake fluid leakage.

What Is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is a thick fluid used in the hydraulic braking systems of vehicles. Brake fluid works to create hydraulic pressure to operate components used in a vehicle’s braking system.

The pressure of this fluid exerts pressure on the piston of the brake caliper, which presses the brake pads against the rotor and forces the rotor to stop.

Brake fluid can be of different colors. However, the grade number of brake fluid may vary. These grade numbers indicate the thickness of the brake fluid.

Symptoms Of A Brake Fluid Leak

However, the main symptom of a brake fluid leak is fluid dripping or wetness forming around brake system components. But apart from this, there are many other symptoms which can be detected by seeing or feeling. That your vehicle’s brake fluid is leaking. These symptoms are as follows.

1. Brake Light Illuminated

Modern vehicles have a warning light for the braking system, which comes on when the handbrake is applied. But this braking warning light still starts flashing continuously. When the brake fluid level in the fluid reservoir tank becomes low due to a brake fluid leak.

So if the brake warning light is constantly burning on your vehicle’s dashboard, check the hand brake of your vehicle or also check the brake fluid leakage and level.

2. Brake Pedal Going To The Floor

Many times, due to leakage of fluid in the hydraulic braking system of vehicles, when the driver presses the brake pedal, the brake pedal goes down to the floor.

In such a situation, you should understand that fluid is leaking from some component of your vehicle’s brake system. This happens because when you press the brake pedal, fluid starts leaking from the pipeline or caliper, causing the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid to break and the brake pedal to sink toward the floor.

3. Reduced Brake Performance

Often minor leakage of fluid from any part of the vehicle’s braking system results in reduced braking power.

Because due to brake fluid leakage, the fluid pressure is not able to press the piston of the brake caliper with full force.

Due to this, the brake pads are unable to maintain full grip on the rotor even when the brakes are applied, causing you to experience reduced performance of the brake system when the vehicle is moving at high speed.

4. Vehicle Pulling To One Side During Braking

There is a separate brake system for each wheel of the vehicle. Such as calipers, rotors and disc brake pads. The brake systems of all these different wheels are controlled by the master cylinder.

Fluid is piped at high pressure from the brake master cylinder to the caliper piston in each wheel’s individual brake assembly.

But sometimes the brake fluid on one side starts leaking from the brake assembly of the wheel, due to which when the brake pedal is pressed, the brakes on the wheel on the side from which the fluid is leaking do not apply, but On the other side, wheel brakes are applied.

So in such a situation when the car is moving at a high speed and the brakes are applied, the car starts moving to one side. However, this type of symptom can also be caused by worn brake pads, worn out calipers, or worn rotors.

5. Brake Fluid Leaking Inside Wheel

There will be a fluid leak from the braking system unit of any wheel on the vehicle. Then, after driving for a while, when the vehicle is stopped, you may notice droplets of brake fluid leaking inside the wheel.

In many cases, you may see drops of brake fluid dripping onto the ground below. The most common symptom of a brake fluid leak is fluid dripping onto the ground beneath a parked vehicle.

Why Is Your Vehicle Leaking Brake Fluid: Causes

Causes of leaking brake fluid in vehicles include a bad brake master cylinder, damaged brake fluid lines, bad brake calipers, worn wheel cylinders, loose brake hoses, loose brake bleeder screws and other brake components that are failing.

Let us know these causes of brake fluid leakage in detail.

1. Brake Master Cylinder Leaking

Whenever the hydraulic brake pedal is pressed, the brake master cylinder sends brake fluid under hydraulic pressure through a pipeline to the wheel’s brake calipers piston, causing the piston to apply pressure to the brake pads while squeezing the rotor.

But sometimes brake fluid starts leaking from the brake master cylinder. Therefore a leaking master cylinder is also a cause of brake fluid leaking.

2. Damaged Brake Fluid Pipe Line

In the hydraulic braking system of vehicles, brake fluid is sent under pressure by the brake master cylinder to the brake caliper through the fluid pipeline, which is how the hydraulic braking system is operated.

But sometimes the brake fluid pipeline gets cracked for any reason or the joint connectors at the ends of the fluid pipeline get damaged. Due to which brake fluid starts leaking.

3. Brake Calipers Leaking


In the hydraulic braking system of vehicles, when the brake pedal is depressed, the brake master cylinder sends fluid under high pressure to the brake caliper piston, due to which the piston of the brake caliper is pressed and the brake disc pads squeeze onto the brake rotor.

But sometimes the piston valves and rings of the brake caliper wear out. Due to which brake fluid starts leaking when brake pedal is pressed from the piston of brake caliper. You may notice a brake fluid leak as a drip on the brake caliper or on the inside of the wheel.

Why is Brake Fluid Leaking From Rear Wheel?

If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid from the rear wheels and has drum brakes on the rear wheels, the main reason is a leaking brake cylinder. If the rear wheels have disc brakes, the cause of the brake fluid leak is a leaking brake caliper. However, in many cases, damaged fluid lines or loose connectors can also cause fluid leakage.

How To Identify Brake Fluid Leaks?

If you are going to identify a brake fluid leak, you can follow these steps.

  • Do Visual Inspection
  • Check Brake Fluid Reservoir
  • Inspect Brake Lines and Fittings
  • Inspect Brake Calipers and Wheel Cylinders
  • Inspect Brake Hoses
  • Check for a Spongy Brake Pedal
  • Look for Corrosion or Rust

How To Fix Leaking Brake Fluid?

  • If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid, the first thing to do is check the brake master cylinder. If brake fluid leaks from the brake master cylinder, replace the damaged master cylinder with a new one.
  • Next check the fluid pipeline and joint connector. If the brake fluid is leaking from the pipeline or any joint connector, replace the fluid pipeline or joint connector as well. However, if tightening or repairing it stops the leak, you can do that as well.
  • Along with this, also check the brake callipers. If you notice a brake fluid leak on the vehicle’s brake caliper or inside the wheel, you should replace the bad brake caliper with a new one. Because their repairs do not last long.
  • Check the hydraulic cylinder of the brake drum on the rear wheel. If brake fluid leaks, the brake drum cylinder will need to be replaced.

Brake Fluid Leak Repair Cost

The average repair cost for a brake fluid leak in a typical vehicle can range from $120 to over $350. However, in some cases of brake fluid leaks, this can be a costly job.

The cost to repair a brake fluid leak in a vehicle depends on the cost of the parts of the damaged brake assembly and the mechanic’s labor costs. Because if you need to replace a part, it can cost up to a thousand dollars, as the chain of causes for leaking brake fluid can be long.


Can You Drive With A Brake Fluid Leak?

No, ignoring brake fluid leakage and driving the vehicle is not safe in any way for the driver, the vehicle or others. Because leaking brake fluid can cause braking system failure of your vehicle at any point of time during high speed and can cause an accident at any time.

How Much Does it Cost To Fix A Brake Fluid Leak?

The cost of repairing a brake fluid leak in a vehicle depends on the cost of the damaged parts of the braking system and the labor cost of the mechanic. Generally speaking, the cost of repairing brake fluid leaks on common cars can be expected to average between $150 and $350 for a mechanic’s labor. However, at times these costs can be high as well.

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