My car's brakes were inspected some time ago, and it was found that the passenger wheel cylinder for the rear brakes was leaking. A few questions:

1) How bad is this?

2) Can the car be sold if it has this condition? Obviously I would disclose this to a potential buyer; I just want to know that, in the case that I sell it with this pre-existing condition and that the car is sold in "as-is" condition, there will be no lawsuit potential or prosecution.

3) Maybe unrelated to the problem with the brakes, there is water leakage to the passenger's side of the car. This leakage does not occur from the window or the top of the car; it seems to come from below. Why does this happen?

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. The best thing to do is to replace the cylinder, which solves the problem. We cannot advise you on legal issues here, especially as we don't know where in the world you are. The third question is unrelated, so could you please ask that as a separate question, preferably with more details as to where the water is coming from.
    – Nick C
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 9:19
  • If you want to drive the car on a public road, the leaking wheel cylinder should be fixed immediately. In the event of an accident where brake failure is a contributory factor (brake failure is the inevitable outcome if the leak is left unchecked) and it came to light this issue had previously been highlighted, you'd struggle to defend yourself in court. If the accident was serious in nature, you'll likely be looking at serving a jail sentence. To sell a car in this condition may or may not constitute an offence depending on local legislation. Why has this not been rectified already? Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 10:36
  • In some countries you need a safety inspection to sell the car and a brakes leak wouldnt pass it. Check your requirements and act accordingly Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


A leaky brake cylinder is about an bad as it gets with regard to safety. I had a vehicle with the same type of leak. The moment the brake fluid gets low enough, the brakes stop working immediately without warning. For me, it was exiting an interstate highway in heavy traffic. The fix is relatively easy - if you can change the brake pads, you can change the cylinder - and cheap. The cylinder for my car would have been about $50 for the part.

The wet passenger side is likely a leaky heater core. Not terribly detrimental as long as you keep the coolant topped off regularly. Symptoms of a leaky heater core are a smell of antifreeze within the vehicle and wet carpet on the front passenger floorboard.

DO NOT use "stop leak" products in the coolant! It will destroy your engine.

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