5 Signs You Are Low on Brake Fluid
A lack of brake fluid can be a serious problem; if left unchecked, it can leave you without the proper means to bring your vehicle to a stop, and that can be disastrous. Luckily, there are several signs that can indicate an inadequate supply. Here are just five.
1. Your Braking Efficiency Suffers
If there isn't enough brake fluid within the system, it won't have enough pressure to stop the vehicle as efficiently as before. This means that you will need to apply more force to the brakes to decrease speed, and you're also likely to notice an increase in your stopping distance. Changes might not be too dramatic at first but are likely to grow more serious and more noticeable over time.
2. Your Brake Pads Are Old
When the brake pads wear down, the calliper pistons are gradually pushed out of their housings. This can lead to brake fluid leaking out of the system. If it has been a long time since your brake pads were replaced, it might be that you have low brake fluid simply because so much of it has been used up in this way.
3. Smalls Puddles After Parking
Brake fluid doesn't have any noticeable odour and is usually clear – though it can develop a brown tint if it has been in your vehicle for some time. This means that many people will dismiss a small puddle of it as nothing more than water. However, it's worth checking those puddles if you think you might have a problem with your brakes; they will feel slightly oily if composed of brake fluid.
4. The Brake Pedal Feels Spongy
If brake fluid is leaking from the vehicle, you'll be able to tell if you concentrate on how the brake pedal feels. Try getting into your vehicle, starting it up, then slowly pressing down on the brake. If everything is fine, it should come to a full stop. If you feel it continuing to go down, even quite subtly, it's likely that you have brake fluid leaking from somewhere.
5. Low Levels
If all else fails, the best thing to do is take a visual inspection. Find your owner's manual to ensure that you can locate the fluid reservoir, then take a look under the hood to make sure the level is between 'Low' and 'Full'. If it is too low, don't top it off. Instead, take your vehicle to a mechanic; they will be able to check all parts of the braking system and make any necessary repairs.