Brake Pedal In My Car Goes to The Floor

car brake problemsMy name is Sylvia and I’m an owner of a Honda CRX. I took my car to get repaired for an axle, and rotors and brake pads. I am now having a problem braking. The brake pedal goes all the way to the floor and nothing happens I
have to use the emergency brake to stop.

I was told by one of the mechanics that my brake line was not working correctly, then I was told that the master cylinder is the problem. Then the last time I was told that there is air in my brake line and they tried to
remove it manually and it didn’t work…. please help! I put so much money into that car I just don’t want to see it go.


Hi there,

I would first check to see if you have enough brake fluid in the master cylinder, visit your local oil change shop and ask them to check it if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

If the fluid is empty, you have a brake fluid leak somewhere in the system and all the wheels should come off for inspection.  On a 4 wheel disc brake vehicle, like you have, common brake fluid leaks can be found at the brake calipers (the part that actually holds the brake pads) and the rubber brake hoses on the front of the vehicle.

Each wheel has a brake caliper (so 4 total) and each front wheel has a rubber brake hose (so 2 total) supplying brake fluid to the brake caliper. They could have left the brake bleeder screw loose, or there is a cut in the rubber brake hoses.  You might be able to stick your head under each wheel to see if you can see any fluid that has leaked onto the inside of the tires.

If the brake fluid level is full in the master cylinder, you could either have air in the lines which will need to be “bled out” or you have a bad brake master cylinder that is “by passing” allowing brake fluid to leak internally in the cylinder instead of being pushed out to the wheels.

If the mechanic replaced some brake parts recently and you did not experience this issue before you had the brakes replaced I would suspect your mechanic did not properly bleed the system upon completion of the brake work.

In rare cases (although I have had it happen to me) when the mechanic bleeds the air out of the system they actually cause internal damage (unintentionally) to the master cylinder and will need to replace it.

Do NOT use a rebuilt master cylinder if you determine that is the problem, they are cheap, but they are junk and not only a safety issue but just a waste of your time and money. There are inexpensive NEW master cylinders from your auto parts store which are much cheaper than the dealer.

Here is a picture of a brake master cylinder

brake master cylinder

Click to enlarge

When they bleed the brakes the old fashioned way (one person sits inside the vehicle and pushes the brake pedal down slowly until it reaches the floor) not only does that push out the brake fluid AND the air pockets trapped inside the system but the brake pedal is going down so low it pushes rust and dirt inside the master cylinder and damages the internal seals, causing the by pass leak.

This video shows a pretty typical way of bleeding the brakes

Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Brakes

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