What Are the Signs of a Brake Line Being Cut?

by Jen DavisUpdated July 13, 2023

If you suspect a brake line in your car has a cut in it, either from corrosion in an accident or vandalism, you should not drive the car until it has been repaired. There are several signs that can indicate your brake problems are actually a torn brake line. If your vehicle is exhibiting any of these warning signs, you should have it towed to a professional mechanic and repaired immediately. Problems with the hydraulic system and brake failures can cause accidents.

Brake Fluid Leak

If there is a puddle of brake fluid under your car, there is a chance that you have a brake line leakage. The brake lines are metal tubes that run the length of the car, while the brake hoses are rubber hoses that carry fluid from the brake line to the brake caliper on each wheel. Some cars may have rubber brake lines instead, so be sure to check if you decide to repair them. If a car’s brake line or brake hose is cut, has a hole in it or becomes disconnected, the brake system will lose fluid. This could lead to major accidents, as the brake system isn’t able to build enough hydraulic pressure to fully stop a car. Without brake fluid, the brake pads on the rotors or the brake shoes on the rear brakes will not function correctly. While there is still an emergency brake or parking brake that doesn’t require brake fluid, they’re usually far too weak to stop a car in an accident.

Brake Fluid

If you open the hood of your car and your master cylinder's reservoir, which is the part of the brake system where brake fluid is added, is low or empty, then your brake fluid is going somewhere outside your hydraulic system. A cut or hole in a brake line will cause fluid to leak out and your master cylinder brake fluid reservoir to empty. You might see a warning light that says that your brake fluid is low, too.

No Braking Power

If your car does not stop when you press the brake pedal, you may not have enough fluid pressure in your braking system. This can be caused by several different problems, and a cut brake line is one of them. Your brake lines may also have been cut if your car stops, but the pedal feel is off. If you have a spongy brake pedal or if your brakes are rapidly losing fluid pressure, contact a mechanic immediately.

Video: How to Diagnose a Brake Problem

10 Symptoms of a Brake Problem

  • A high-pitched scraping or squealing noise that goes away when you step on the brake indicates worn brake pads (only with wear sensors attached).
  • A grinding metal against metal sound when braking suggests that the brake pads or shoes are completely worn away, potentially damaging the rotors or drums.
  • Feel the brake pedal. If it is soft, mushy, or the firmness changes when you pump it, bleeding the brakes may be necessary to remove air bubbles from the brake lines.
  • If the brake pedal slowly sinks to the floor when you step on it, you might need a new brake master cylinder.
  • Test the brakes while driving at slow speeds. Squealing may indicate the need for new brake pads or resurfacing/machining of the brake rotors.
  • If the car pulls to one side when braking, there may be insufficient hydraulic pressure in one part of the brake system or a sticking brake.
  • Consider warped brake rotors if you feel a pulsation when braking, especially at higher speeds. Machining or replacing the rotors may be necessary.
  • Smoking brakes with a bad smell indicate a stuck brake caliper or wheel cylinder. This symptom can also be caused by driving with the handbrake on or a stuck handbrake cable.

More Articles

article divider