Expert Advice

How do I know if my vehicle’s brake fluid is low?

Many cars today have lights or signals to indicate low brake levels. However, you may notice other, earlier signs that indicate a vehicle’s brake fluid is approaching lower levels. This is especially true if you drive an older-model vehicle, which may not have sensory systems that are sophisticated enough to closely monitor brake fluid levels. For those reasons, it’s important to know the early-warning signs of low brake fluid.

Low brake fluid is not something that should be ignored. If left too long, it can cause a vehicle’s brake system to stop working entirely.

Low Brake Fluid Early Warning Signs

• Difficulty slowing or stopping the vehicle
• Brake pedal becomes harder to push over time
• Change in usual responsiveness when the brake pedal is fully engaged
• Clear fluid puddles in the driveway under your vehicle

Common Causes

As you use your brakes, the brake fluid is pushed through to the calipers and brake pads. The force of the fluid pushes the calipers into the brake pads, causing the car to stop. As the brake pads wear down, more fluid and force is required. So over time the brake fluid will get lower. This is typically a gradual process.

The other cause of low brake fluid could be a leak in the brake fluid line. This is a much more serious issue. If a leak is left unrepaired, it can cause the brake fluid to run dry. The worst- case scenario may result, in which the driver presses the brake pedal to the floor but the vehicle does not stop.

By keeping the brake fluid topped off at each brake pad replacement, you can identify if low brake fluid is due to normal use or a leak in the brake fluid line.

Brake Service Wilmington, NC

If you have an actual leak in your brake line, the skilled and experienced mechanics at O’Leary’s Automotive Repair will work to identify and repair it. We will review the parts that need to be repaired and answer any questions you may have. We offer truck and car brake services at four convenient locations in Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about our brake services.