Air in the brake lines

I was recently driving and my brakes stopped working, I had no pressure behind the brake pedal. I stopped the car and checked the brake fluid level under the hood to find that the resivoir had gone dry. I added 1 bottle of brake fluid to it and had my passenger pump the brake pedal. As the fluid was introduced into the brake system I could see small bubbles leaving exiting through the fluid. I didn’t know any better and drove the 150 miles home without any problems. A friend of mine told me that I needed to bleed the brake lines to remove the excess air that was introduced when the brake fluid ran out. Is this true? WOuld it have worked it’s way out when I drove the 150 miles?

You lost your brake fluid because of a leak. There is no other way for this to happen. It is imperative that you fix the leak and refill and properly bleed the system before you drive this vehicle again.

I repeat…it is absolutely imperative. Refilling an empty system without finding and fixing the leak is a guarantee of sudden and total brake failure. The results could be deadly.

Please have the car towed to a shop. Please.

Oh, and you may have a bad master cylinder too. Air should not be bubbling up out the reservoire.

You need to take this car to a mechanic, and you need to do it RIGHT AWAY. Maybe you shouldn’t even drive it, it’s that serious.

You’re really lucky that adding brake fluid made the brakes work, but I have to wonder why you had brake fluid at hand. I suspect you have been dealing with a brake fluid leak for some time.

If this is true you are being foolish and risking your life and the lives of others on the road, because one day the brakes won’t work when you REALLY need them, and the results will be tragic.

Please stop fooling around and get the brakes on your vehicle fixed. Your car has a serious, life-threatening problem. This is no joke. Have it towed to a mechanic and repaired ASAP.

I strongly suggest you NOT drive this vehicle.

I got the brake fluid at a Texaco that I stopped at. The vehicle is 12 years old with 136,000 miles. I had the brakes checked 3000 miles ago and the mechanic said they were fine and that they shouldn’t need any work for atleast another 10,000 miles. He must have been wrong. I will get this looked into right away.

Thank you. The mechanic may have looked at the brakes themselves, which are probably OK, but that doesn’t mean there is not a significant brake fluid leak, which is dangerous.

Please have a mechanic look for a brake fluid leak. Losing as much fluid as you did is WAY out of the normal range, and potentially very dangerous.

Yes he was wrong. They were fine then but not now. To lose that much fluid, you have a leak somewhere. It could be a leak at one of the wheel cylinders or could be in the master cylinder itself where you put the fluid in. Leaks at the master can be kind of hard to see since it can be leaking behind the master itself. At any rate the only way to get the air out of the line is to have them bled where each wheel cylinder is openened up and fluid pumped through the line until the air is gone.

You need to take it in and have the system checked to see where the leak is, have that repaired and then have the system bled and you’ll be fine. Any time there is a major change in any fluid level, you have to suspect a problem and investigate further.

To answer your question about air in the lines, you were lucky that the air in the system bubbled out as you refilled it. If air was still in the system, you would have a mushy pedal all the time.

I agree with the other posters, get it fixed now.