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What did I do to my car and how much is it going to cost me?

So, I pulled a bonedheaded move last night and now I don’t know if my car is safe to drive or how much it is going to cost to fix it. Last night, I wanted to see how much pressure I could put on the break pedal being I felt the breaks were really tight, but I didn’t know how far down I could push the pedal, I have yet to need to stop short or slam on the breaks. I pushed firmly down. Afterwards, the firm resistance that pushed back on me was gone when I pushed on the pedal. It now goes straight down to the floor. It feels like a hydralic press compressing when I push down. It goes straight to the floor now when I push on it and the car slows down, but doesn’t stop until I get to the floor and then push down. Ten Minutes later, my brake light comes on and starts beeping at me. What have I done to my car and how much is it going to take to fix it? Did I just pop the brake line? Is it something minor that is easy to fix? I am pretty sure the light being on and it beeping loudly at me means I shouldn’t drive it, but I am going to ask the dumb question anyway…is it safe to drive short distances until fixed?

Sounds like you blew a seal somewhere. Check underneath and all the wheels for brake fluid leaks. Or if you blew a cup seal inside the master cylinder, that will cause a low pedal but no external leak. Check the whole system.

And no, its definitely not safe!

+1 for Vhyle. There are many areas in the brake system so I will repeat…check everything. If you look under the vehicle you will probably see a pool of brake fluid. That will get you near the source of the problem.

Year, make, model, mileage?? Does it have ABS brakes? You did nothing that would damage a sound brake system…A seal or line failed and must be replaced…It can be $75 or $1000…We can’t tell from here…

+1 to the preceding comments.

PLEASE do not attempt to drive this car!
It needs to be towed to a competent mechanic for diagnosis of exactly what part(s) of the brake system need to be replaced. As was said, this could be a matter of a blown seal, or–if you live in an area of the country where the roads are salted in the winter, it is possible that a badly-rotted hydraulic brake line has burst. Either way, it is not safe to drive.

While nobody can predict the cost of the repair from afar, one thing is certain…
If you want both competent repair work and a fair price, do NOT go to Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, AAMCO, or any other chain operation. Those places are notorious for sub-standard work and doing unnecessary repairs.

If you don’t know of any good independent repair shops in your area, use the Mechanics Files link at the top of this page, in order to find one in or near your zip code.

Good luck!

Hopefully you have a new car and it will be a warranty repair. I think you blew the master cylinder, but you might have blown one of the calipers too. I’m not sure what your problems were to move you to apply mega pressure to the brake petal? Is this a new car, a new to you used car? Or, were the brakes feeling somehow different a car you owned and driven for awhile?

Cars and light trucks with power brakes really shouldn’t require a lot of pressure from the driver to bring the car to a stop quickly. If the car isn’t under warranty you are probably looking at something like $500. I suspect your brakes have more than one problem. You first have to get the hydraulic system repaired and functioning, then find out why your brakes lack stopping power.

I agree that it is not safe to drive, but your test was not boneheaded and you should not feel guilty because you did nothing wrong. In fact, it may be a very good thing that you found the weak spot in your brake system that needed to be repaired, without a mishap. Much better you discover the problem this way than when you had a car full of people and needed to make an emergency stop.

As for what it may be, I would guess most likely the master cylinder, or a hernia in one of the brake hoses.

@Manolito I agree; if you had to make a panic stop when a kid on a bike appeared in front of you, the same would have happened. A good brake system is supposed to able to take a shock like that.

Just stop driving th car until you get it fixed properly.

It’s unanimous; what you did was discover a seal that was getting ready to go anyway. Do not drive the car. Have it towed to your mechanic.

I’m curious; was there something that prompted this stress test other than mere curiosity?

I don’t think this was a 'boneheaded" move on your part. You uncovered a weakness in the hydraulic system for the brakes. Now, don’t make a “bonehead” move by driving the car. Have it towed to a repair shop.
I found a weakness in the brake system of my 1978 Oldsmobile when I had to make a panic stop. Fortunately, I did get stopped, but as I was bringing the car to a stop, I felt the brake pedal sink. A rear brake line was weak and the pressure blew a hole in the line.

Well, it depends, if you weigh around 300 lbs, and you pushed as hard as you could, that might be boneheaded!! As long as we are guessing, I will bet on a wheel cylinder. BTW if you want to try the clutch, but it up against a big tree and see if you can move it.