Bleed and refill?

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333
Location
Ohio
Thread starter
My mom had me check the fluid levels in her car today (04 Element, 124.xxx miles) and the brake fluid reservoir was BONE dry. Took half a bottle to fill it to an acceptable level. Pretty safe to say there's air in the system and I should get the brakes bled right? Just wanting someone to confirm or deny my suspicion. TIA
 
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1,205
Location
USA
I would definitely +. I saw this once as an emissions Inspector with a lady in a jaguar. Not sure how your mom could stop.
 
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333
Location
Ohio
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I dunno how she was able to stop either. I don't know if I should be terrified or impressed by this... gonna have my buddy look over all the brake lines for me in a bit and help me bleed and refill at least for the time being.
 
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21,298
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted by WhyMe
if its that dry you need to check the reason why. either the all the brakes are worn or you have a leak somewhere.
Even if all the pads are worn out it should still have fluid in the reservoir. If there's nothing in it you have a leak that needs to be fixed now.
 
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1,890
Location
Somewhere in time
Originally Posted by cwilliamsws6
I dunno how she was able to stop either. I don't know if I should be terrified or impressed by this... gonna have my buddy look over all the brake lines for me in a bit and help me bleed and refill at least for the time being.
You should be both terrified and impressed. More importantly, you should get it checked pronto...
 
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4,627
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Originally Posted by cwilliamsws6Pretty
safe to say there's air in the system and I should get the brakes bled right?
She didn't see the low fluid light on? Did you drive it afterwards to see how it feels? Theoretically the fluid could have been right at the bottom of the reservoir so no air got in, but has the fluid ever been changed?
 
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647
Location
ohio
My as well go ahead and bleed the breaks. That way new fluid will be in all the lines and once properly filled without any potential air in the lines, you will be able to truly see if there is a leak somewhere in the lines (in the case the fluid does continue to go down).
 
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24,805
Location
Upstate NY
OP- did you try the brakes after filling the reservoir? Engine running. The car should be towed to a place to bleed the brakes and find the leak. I would guess a rusted brake line in a 15 yr old car in Ohio. I assume salt and rust in Ohio. And it's likely that some bleeder screws are seized. That can mean from some extra work to a new caliper.
 
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333
Location
Ohio
Thread starter
There was no low fluid light, and I was driving her car earlier today and the breaks worked and felt totally normal... felt the same after topping the fluid off too. Confused as [censored] about the whole thing. Fluid was changed once like 5 years ago and just topped off as needed. Obviously we've been slacking on that last bit.. lol
 
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333
Location
Ohio
Thread starter
Reservoir pretty clean, knew it was bone dry because I put my finger in it, touched the sides, and even down in the bottom and it was d r y. Nothing in there at all. E brake works fine, tested it on our absurdly steep driveway.
 
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4,627
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Well, as long as it feels strong and the E brake works fine I'd drive it but but check the level often in case there is a leak and the fluid should be changed if it never has been before. And maybe see why the warning light doesn't work. Isn't that part of a safety inspection?
 
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4,096
Location
SW Ohio
Originally Posted by cwilliamsws6
There was no low fluid light...
Does the fluid reservoir cap have a single electrical wire going into the top of it ?
 
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4,823
Location
VA
That Honda Master Cylinder's design is such that the warning light is like atikovi's picture. You were probably not out of fluid. The master cylinder design is sorta different looking. I believe it could be empty to the touch but still have fluid in the reservoir. Notice how it's made. It's not just a rectangular or round box. I would check for leaks and at least make sure it is topped off more often. Maybe a picture could help some of these guys come up with a more accurate diagnosis?
 
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