Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Brake fluid situation

I accidentally put a little bit of power steering fluid in with the brake fluid. After realizing it I took a turkey baster and took out what was in the cylinder. And then added new brake fluid back in. However there were two distinct compartments that contain fluid. I was only able to drain one. I couldn’t get the turkey baster to fit into the second one so it remained un-drained. Am I OK?

When I added new brake fluid back I could see by the fluid levels that none of it was going into the second compartment until the first rose to the same level then both levels rose at the same time.

You will have to hook a hose to the baster and advance it to the second chamber. Just go to a car parts store and buy 6" gas hose, take the baster with you.
I will let others chime in, but I would also flush the brake system AFTER you drained and refilled the chambers.

If possible it would be worthwhile to remove the master cylinder and pour it out, then re-install and fill with brake fluid. Once the P/S fluid contacts any rubber component in the brake system the part will soon fail.

If the PS fluid reaches the other brake components like the ABS or the calipers, replacing or rebuilding those could prove to be quite expensive. The more times you press onthe brake pedal, the more likely this becomes. Whatever happens to the brake system from this, it can be fixed. But I think it is worthwhile from a cost benefit and safety point of view to try to remove as much of the contaminated fluid in the MC as as possible. You may get lucky and suffer to futher ill-effects. Or you may be semi-lucky at least, and only need to end up replacing the MC.

I guess if this were my car, I’d probably just replace the MC and hope for the best. MC’s – at least on econoboxes --usually are not overly expensive.

I like Galant’s solution, but would probably be easier to do with the smallest vacuum hose you can find and rig some adaptors to fit it to the end of the baster. I have a car with chambers like that, and was able to get a small vacuum line to reach the other chamber to clean it out. I was using a one-man bleeder system with a catch bottle and vacuum pump.

I am not one to throw out horror stories but on one occasion a Chevrolet came to my shop with a fading brake pedal and the rubber master cylinder cover seal was swollen, soft and soaked with fluid indicating oil had contaminated the reservoir. I replaced the master cylinder and totally flushed the system pumping a great deal of fluid through and warned the customer of possible future failures. Within weeks he returned and the proportioning valve, calipers, wheel cylinders and all hoses had to be replaced.

A 10 year old car with ABS might be considered a total loss in that situation.

@BustedKnuckles; I was going to suggest a syringe and IV line tubing, but not everybody has access to those. I happen to have a few from a previous medical office I used to have and use them in place of the baster.