Is my car safe to drive in this condition?

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  #1  
Old 01-12-15, 10:00 PM
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Is my car safe to drive in this condition?

Hi,

I recently had my car towed to the shop because the brakes weren't working normally. After inspection, they told me that my brake lines were leaking, and quoted me $1,300 to fix it. I think I can get a better price than that, but I'd like to avoid having the car towed again if possible.

Would it be safe to refill the brake fluid, and immediately drive my car to another shop? (Cautiously of course). I figure as long as I'm only going to drive a few miles, I could reach my destination safely before too much fluid leaks out.

Thanks for your advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-12-15, 11:39 PM
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Safe? Absolutely not. Could you perhaps get away with it? Maybe.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-15, 11:44 PM
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Lines as in plural? I once blew 2 lines on an old truck during a panic stop, but I'd find it hard to believe a car would have multiple leaking lines. You should be able to see any leaks easily.

I'd find another shop.

And a tow is cheaper than an insurance claim or hospital bills.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 11:56 PM
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$1,300! Is this a Roll Royce?
I could install all new lines, brakes, master cylinder and calipers for that price.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 12:13 AM
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Sixteen-seventeen years ago my girlfriend at the time took her little Toyota sporty fastback to a shop that specialized in brakes. They got it up on the rack, pulled the wheels and then told her it needed $1,000 of work. (This was to be her daughter's car so she was justifiably concerned.) I had driven the car myself and KNEW there was nothing seriously wrong and probably all it needed was new pads/shoes so I advised her to tell them to put the thing back together and I would drive it home.

I ended up putting new pads all around (it was four-wheel discs) and changing out two of the caliper assemblies for a cost of about $100. I'm all for a good shop paying its employees a decent wage but I don't think it fair to charge for ten years of retirement benefits per job.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 12:41 AM
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Thanks for all your responses.

I don't know if only one line is leaking or if there are multiple leaks. The shop told me "brake lines are leaking" so I'm just repeating what they told me. I agree $1,300 is ridiculous and I'm not paying that.

On Wednesday of last week, the brakes were operating normally. On Thursday, I noticed they required extra pressure on the brake pedal in order to stop the car, but I was still able to drive without too much trouble. On Friday I got in the car and realized the brakes had deteriorated significantly overnight, and decided it wasn't safe to drive.

Common sense tells me I should be able to refill the brake fluid and drive a few miles without the brakes giving me problems, since very little fluid will leak out during such a short drive. Is this incorrect? Am I missing something?

Thanks again.
 
  #7  
Old 01-13-15, 03:40 AM
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Depends on which brake lines were leaking and the type of car, If just flex lines and the medal lines are good than price is high, If medal lines are leaking price may be cheap. Some of the steel lines can take hour to change. I would have car towed very dangerous to drive. Just saw PA I would guess it's the steel lines and what is the condition of the rest or they going to replace them all. If one has rusted out usually the rest are soon to follow.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 03:54 AM
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Would it be safe to refill the brake fluid, and immediately drive my car to another shop?
It all depends on the leak. If it's minor leaks with no danger of rupture - you can drive it cautiously if you keep the reservoir full. You do not want to drive it if there is danger of a line breaking. I've only had a brake line break once and it's a little scary as the brake pedal will go all the way to the floor with no braking power! You still have the emergency brake but it won't stop you as well not to mention the time loss remembering and operating the e-brake.

I've drove a lot of old vehicles throughout the years and it's not a big deal to replace lines. Brake hoses come prefitted for the vehicles, the hard lines must either be cut to fit [and the ends reflared] or allowances made to deal with the excess length. Hard lines come in various sizes/lengths so you may have to put multiple sections together.

Did they show you under the car where the leaks were?
 
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Old 01-13-15, 04:39 AM
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I'm in agreement with all the other comments and I second the idea of towing vice driving [I'm biased, of course]. I routinely tow cars that have brake line cancer from having spent time on salted roadways up north. Some shops will repair/replace only the leaker with the caveat that the vehicle owner is aware it is better to replace the whole bunch [some have you sign a disclaimer]. Other shops flatly refuse to do just the leaker under the notion that if one is going, the others aren't far behind. I'm afraid I don't know what the average cost is for a complete line replacement, but even if it was an all day job - let's say 8 hours - it would come in under $1,000. I'll have to remember to ask at shops I'm at today.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 04:46 AM
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The price is not out of line for a complete steel brake line replacement. Ask the question first. What are they replacing? Just the leak or all the brake lines.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 06:06 AM
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I think the short answer is that all of us here are hesitant to endorse anything which puts others at risk so I don't think you're going to get anyone to say the car is fine to drive somewhere else.

I like the question Norm proposed about finding out just what this $1300 entails and then going from there.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 09:22 AM
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Agreed. And with that knowledge you could make a couple of calls to see what the price range is for the job; wouldn't necessarily have to actually take it to another garage to get a ballpark figure on the work.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 09:39 AM
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Check the rental cost of a two wheel car tow rig.
 
  #14  
Old 01-13-15, 01:14 PM
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Hey, hey, let's not get carried away, Ray!
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-15, 06:05 PM
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ok how fast does the brake fluid leak out, cant let air get into line or no brake. do you have an emergency brake
 
  #16  
Old 01-14-15, 02:44 AM
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Just so everyone is clear, there is no such thing as an "emergency" brake system on a car. It is a parking brake and should only be used for that purpose. You have little control over the amount of braking it provides and it could be uneven from side to side, and it only affects the rear brakes making car control poor. Use caution.
 
  #17  
Old 01-14-15, 03:47 AM
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Most cars have a duel brake system (front and back). Unless the leak is at the master cylinder then it's unlikely both systems are losing braking power. That said, don't drive it.
 
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