CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Help! Need advice ASAP!

So my car has been having a brake fluid leak no additional problems not even a check engine light on. I was low on brake fluid tonight (the only thing that has changed lately). I had to push my brake down to the floor for it to stop. I got to the gas station, turned the car off and came back and it wouldn’t start. It started smoking a bit out the exhaust. It finally started and on my way home I had to brake at a red light and the car stalled out. Is this most likely because the fluid is so low or out? Or does this usually not happen with just a brake fluid leak. The break fluid usually last about 2-3 weeks before I have to put more. Just hoping that’s what’s causing the car to stall and when I put more fluid in the morning I will be able to make it to the shop. Advice, advice, advice please!! Is this something that can happen with brake fluid leak and low brake fluid?

I do not know how old your car is, there is a vacuum hose that goes to a brake booster, a vacuum issue can cause dying when braking. Sounds like it is time for a competent mechanic to check it out, but probably not too serious I hope.

5 Likes

Thank God your car started stalling to drive you to a mechanic instead of driving around with leaking brakes!

6 Likes

Have the car towed to a mechanic ASAP. Don’t try and drive it any distance.

5 Likes

No

A stalling engine can inconvenience you for a minute or two.
Not being able to stop can change your life–and the lives of others–permanently.

Please have the brake fluid leak repaired immediately.

3 Likes

You’re flirting with the lives of everyone else on the road. Get this car to a shop immediately.

1 Like

It sounds like your brake booster has failed, and the brake fluid is being drawn into your engine, resulting in smoke and stalling. If you top off the brake fluid, and disconnect and plug the vacuum line, you might be able to CAREFULLY drive this thing to a repair shop–keeping in mind that the brake pedal will be hard as a rock, and it will require MASSIVE effort, and much longer distance than normal to stop.

I wonder if the brake master cylinder is leaking “into” the vacuum brake booster

3 Likes

Is there a diagram you have showing how break fluid interacts with the engine.

Why would you want ’ Break Fluid ’ anyway ?

What’s the name of the hydraulic fluid that is used in the break system?

I’m not sure how the hydraulic fluid used in the break system interacts with the engine. Is there a diagram showing this relationship or something that explains it a big in detail.

It is called brake fluid in the brake system and unless I am missing some thing it is entirely separate from the engine.

1 Like

If brake fluid leaks from the master cylinder into the vacuum booster the fluid can then be drawn into the engine through the vacuum hose and foul the spark plugs.

This is interesting. Is there like a diagram pointing out the master cylinder, the vacuum booster, and the engine, like the path the fluid would take? I didn’t know about this and trying to learn.

You don’t need a diagram

it’s quite simple

Pop the hood

see that hose going from the booster to the intake manifold?

If there’s break fluid sloshing around in the booster, some of it could conceivably get pulled into the engine through that hose

It goes without saying if the break fluid is leaking into the booster, you need a break master cylinder AND a brake booster

All that break fluid could wreak havoc on the diaphragm which is located inside the brake booster

What is the purpose of the break booster being connected to the intake manifold?

John it is Brake not break .

3 Likes

I think John is pulling our leg, nobody could be that dense.

3 Likes

Oldtimer you may be on to something . If he did not have a vehicle I would say 12 year old with a laptop in his mothers basement.

3 Likes

A vacuum brake booster relies on vacuum to move the diaphragm inside to apply force to the master cylinder piston when the brake pedal is pressed.