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Troubleshooting The Brake System


Brakes acting funny? Better check here before it's too late.
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» Part 1: Braking symptoms
» Part 2: More symptoms
» Part 3: More symptoms
 
  • Parking Brake Won't Release:
    You see smoke or smell burning brakes, or the rear wheels are abnormally hot, after driving. It feels like the car is dragging when going forward and rolls easily in reverse. The parking brake moves very easily up and down.

    Possible causes:
    1. Parking brake cables are frozen: Replace parking brake cables.

    2. Parking brake linkage needs lubrication: Lubricate parking brake linkage.

    3. Broken parking brake mechanism inside your rear brakes. Repair or replace broken parts as required.

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  • Brake Pedal Feels Spongy:
    When you step on the brake pedal it feels very soft and mushy. It should feel firm and not excessively hard. Pumping the brake pedal may make it firm once again but the softness returns after you release the pedal.

    Possible causes:
    1. Leak in brake line or hose: Replace leaking brake lines and hoses.

    2. Air in the hydraulic system: Bleed hydraulic system

    3. Brake fluid is contaminated with water, or has the wrong type of brake fluid: Replace the brake fluid with the fresh fluid of the proper type.

    4. Brake pads and/or brake shoes are worn out: Replace the brake pads/shoes as required.

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  • Brakes Grab:
    When you lightly step on the brakes, it feels like you pressed it very hard. Sometimes the car will pull to the left or right when this happens, or one or more wheels will lock up. It usually happens suddenly but may get worse over time.

    Possible causes:
    1. Parking brake not releasing: See above.

    2. Brake pads and/or brake shoes are worn out: Replace the brake pads/shoes as required.

    3. Bad front disc caliper or rear drum brake wheel cylinder: Replace or rebuild both front calipers. Replace or rebuild both rear wheel cylinders.

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  • Brake Pedal Vibrates:
    When you step on the brakes, you feel a pulsation or vibration in the pedal. This may start out slight and progressively gets worse over time. If your vehicle is equipped with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) this is normal under hard braking.

    Possible causes:
    1. Brake rotors have excess run out or are warped. Brake drums are out of round or warped: Machine or replace front disc brake rotors. Machine or replace rear brake drums.

    2. Loose or broken front end steering parts: Check and replace loose and broken parts as required.

    3. Lug nuts loose: Tighten all lug nuts to the proper torque specifications.

    4. Wheel/tires are out of balance: Balance wheels/tires on a high speed wheel balancer.

    5. Wheels are bent: Replace wheels as required.

    6. Bad defective or worn tires: Replace tires as required in pairs or as a complete set.

    7. Loose or bad front wheel bearings: Replace bad wheel bearings. Repack and retighten loose wheel bearings.

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  • Brakes Drag:
    As you are driving, it feels like you're towing the Queen Mary. The wheels may smoke and you may smell burning brakes. The wheels seem abnormally hot..

    Possible causes:
    1. Parking brake not releasing: See above.

    2. Broken or loose parts inside your rear brakes: Repair or replace broken parts as required.

More...
» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3

Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
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