First of all, you should not fill the brake fluid. You won't damage anything but it's going to create quite a mess later. The fluid level goes down as the disc brake pads wear. As they do, the pistons in the brake calipers move out and brake fluid fills in the space behind them. That's how all disc brakes self-adjust. Later, when new, thicker pads are installed, the pistons have to be pushed back in to make room for them, and that pushes the brake fluid back up to the reservoir. If it was previously filled there will be no place for that fluid to go and it will spill over. Brake fluid will eat paint off the car if it's not washed off right away.
When the brake fluid is low in the reservoir it means you either have a leak that must be addressed right away or the pads are worn down and it's time to inspect the brakes and most likely replace them. Also, as long as we're on the subject, be absolutely certain to never get any type of petroleum product mixed in with brake fluid. That will lead to a REAL expensive repair. Those include engine oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and axle grease. Professionals even wash their hands first to avoid getting fingerprint oil in the brake fluid.
The two shops are talking about two totally different things related to fumes. First you have to determine what you're smelling. A fuel leak will smell different than an exhaust leak. You will only smell an exhaust system leak when the engine is running, and typically you'll hear a clicking or tapping sound to go with it. A fuel leak depends on the cause. If it's in part of the system that's pressurized you will see a wet spot somewhere, usually on the ground, and the smell may go away after the engine has been off a while. If the leak is in something that is not under pressure, like the gas tank, you'll be able to smell those fumes any time the car is sitting, but usually not when it's moving.
Thursday, June 27th, 2013 AT 6:30 PM