There’s more to the brakes of a car than just the disk brakes and calipers. Brake fluid helps the entire braking system work, transferring force into pressure.
But what happens when a car’s onboard systems fail to detect fluid levels?
This is the crux of Ford’s latest recall; the automaker is calling back nearly 188,000 Mustang cars from the 2020 to 2023 model years because a software issue prevents affected cars from properly displaying a brake fluid warning.
According to Ford, a software problem with the affected vehicles’ body control module sends an incorrect message to the dash light. So, if the fluid falls below the recommended level, the warning light won’t turn on, which increases the chance of brake failure and crashes.
The company said it will notify owners of the affected cars starting December 04. Drivers can bring their vehicles to a dealership for a free software update.
Driving without brake fluid is dangerous
Normally, when you hit the brake pedal, it sends pressurized brake fluid to the calipers that make part of a car’s braking system. The calipers then engage, pushing brake pads against the disks connected to the wheels, causing them to stop (or slow down, depending on the pressure applied).
So, if your car is low on brake fluid, the lack of pressure can lead to brake failure during critical moments, such as when you need to avoid hitting another vehicle or an obstacle.
Suing for brake fluid issues
If you suffer from injuries caused by a lack of brake fluid and your vehicle’s systems fail to warn you, you can sue the manufacturer.
You may be able to sue a car company for a design defect if you can demonstrate that your crash resulted from your vehicle being unable to warn you that your brake fluid level was dangerously low. To do this, you’ll need to gather evidence of how the vehicle’s systems failed you at such a critical moment. Product liability lawsuits are difficult, so it’s important to build a strong case.