The other day I was coming home from a camping trip. About 100 miles
from my house, the brakes quit, and the brake line burst. My brake
pedal went all the way down to the floor. It was on a quiet street, and
I managed to pull around and pull into a gas statiion to call AAA.
There was a good deal of brake fluid under the driver's side of the
car. How do I fix this? Also, I'll probably get a mechanic to fix it,
so much do you think it will cost? I'm on a very limited budget.
Well, first of all you got that the wrong way round - the line burst,
and the brakes quit - in that order :)
If you completely and immediately lost braking ability, this suggests a
failure in or very close to the master cylinder, which is usually
located on the drivers' side of the engine compartment, on the
firewall. In my 98 Escort SE, the master cylinder is on the firewall,
just on the driver's side of center. Check and see where the leak
originates. If you put in more fluid, you should be able to see where
the leak is coming from.
All modern cars (since the mid to late 1960s; I think '68 or so was the
first year to require this feature) have a split master cylinder with
the two halves routed to two wheels each, so that a downstream break
will not cause total loss of braking power.
Looks like a remanufactured master cylinder is about $60 for this car,
with roughly $30 core charge. However if it's a hard line that rotted
out, I strongly suggest you get them all replaced. Brake fluid absorbs
water, so brake lines corrode out from the inside, hence it's hard to
judge their state from the outside. If you had a failure at one point
because of this, it's a safe bet that you'll get another one soon
In addition to your other reply... be aware that brake fluid is a very good
paint remover.... if any is on painted surfaces, it should be immediately
rinsed off with copious amounts of water.
Most times, failures such as this will give early warning signs.... It
remains important that, when we have our cars serviced, a comprehensive
inspection of underbody components is made - especially when our vehicles
are aging. There is so much mre to an oil change than simply dropping the
oil and spinning on a new filter.
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