Brake Failure?

I had my foot on the brake while the car was in park and turned around to grab something from the backseat with my foot still on the brake. I put pressure on it and the pedal went all the way to the floor. My brake light is now on and my brakes have seemingly failed and only respond when the pedal is all the way to the floor. I have been using my emergency brake to come to a complete stop. I drive a 2001 volvo v40 wagon. Please help!

That type of thing usually happens when are low on fluid, have a defective master cylinder, or a small leak somwhere in the system itself.

Since you obviously prssed hard on the brake pedal, I suspect your master cylinder might be the most likely cuprit.

Get it fixed right away by a competent independent shop. The Volvo dealer will likely charge an astronimical amount; budget $1500 or so if you go there!.

You have a very dangerous condition. Please do not drive this car until it is fixed. It does not matter what specifically is wrong (maybe failed master cylinder) – you sound like you are not going to fix it yourself. Find a good independent mechanic (that is, you do not need to go to a dealer) and have the car towed there. As a bonus, you’ll probably get your brake fluid changed as part of the repair.

Please do NOT rely on the “emergency” brake for driving. (And next time you need to turn around to grab something from the back, set the parking brake and put the transmission in Park. It’s too easy for your foot to slip off the brake. And, having warned you, I’ll try to remember to take my own advice.)

I agree that this car is NOT safe to drive in this condition. Have it towed to a competent independent mechanic (NOT Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, or any other chain operation) for evaluation.

As was said, there is either a serious leak in one of the brake system’s hydraulic lines, or the master cylinder has failed. Either way, if you drive this car and you have an accident, your liability will be so huge as to wipe out most of your income for the next 20 years.

Please don’t drive this car. Have it towed to a mechanic for inspection and repair. This is very dangerous. You could get hurt or hurt someone else.

Camiclayton, there is a similar problem being discussed here:

Can you please tell us what was the cause of your problem? Thanks.


You are risking your life as well as everyone elses on the road. Get this towed to your shop and repaired.