Five Common Brake Problems in Cars

Updated on January 11, 2017
eddiecarrara profile image

Eddie spent 33 years in the automotive business with Honda. He is an ASE Certified Master Technician and has bruised knuckles to prove it.

Five Most Common Brake Problems

Brake problems can be daunting if you don't know what's causing them. Fear of the unknown causes anxiety. You have questions like: Will my brakes fail? Are they safe? Can I drive my car? Should I drive my car?

Here are five of the most common brake problems I run into, starting with the most serious. It's good to understand what the cause of your problem might be, before a mechanic starts talking about the need to replace this or that. If you don’t find your issue here, look also at my article on brake noises, look through the comments at the end, or leave a comment yourself telling your story.

  1. Soft brake pedal
  2. Car pulls to one side
  3. Steering wheel shakes when brakes are applied
  4. Brake pedal pulses up and down
  5. Whole car shakes when brakes are applied

Parts of the Brake System

In case these terms are new to you, real quick, I'll tell you that to stop the car, the master cylinder sends out fluid through tubes under pressure to drive a pincher (a “caliper”) that presses a “pad” or “shoe” against a metal disc (“rotor”) or drum. Most modern brakes have rotors; older ones have drums, especially in the rear.

1. Soft Brake Pedal

A soft brake pedal is a MAJOR brake issue. If your brake pedal feels squishy, "like stepping on a plum," and won't stop on the way down unless you pump it, or the brake pedal sinks to the floor with little or no resistance, you have a dangerous situation and should NOT drive any further! If you do, it could be a matter of minutes until you smash into something.

When the brake pedal gets soft or sinks to the floor, it's generally due to a leak in the braking system, most commonly the master cylinder leaking internally or externally.

The first thing you should do is check your brake fluid--look in your owner's manual to see how.

Brake fluid reservoir.  if your brake pedal is soft; first check the fluid level to determine if you have a leak in the braking system.
Brake fluid reservoir. if your brake pedal is soft; first check the fluid level to determine if you have a leak in the braking system. | Source

A master cylinder may fail in two ways: internally or externally. If the brake fluid reservoir is full and there are no signs of leaks, the problem is usually an internal problem that you can’t identify just by looking at the master cylinder. Don't drive the car in any case; there is something wrong with your brakes if the pedal is soft.

It's worth grabbing a flashlight and looking to see whether the master cylinder is leaking visibly. If it is, you should be able see the fluid on the carpet under your dash, just over your brake pedal. The pictures below show the master cylinder under the brake pedal.

Location of the Master Cylinder

The master cylinder, where it attaches to the brake pedal. If the master cylinder is leaking externally, you will see fluid dripping from the place where the rod goes into the cylinder.
The master cylinder, where it attaches to the brake pedal. If the master cylinder is leaking externally, you will see fluid dripping from the place where the rod goes into the cylinder. | Source
A better idea of where the master cylinder is located in relation to the brake pedal.
A better idea of where the master cylinder is located in relation to the brake pedal. | Source

The only fix I recommend for a faulty master cylinder is to replace it with a new one. You shouldn't waste your valuable time trying to rebuild it. It's a vital component in your car; leave it to the pros. You wouldn’t pack your own parachute on your first jump, would you?

2. Car Pulls to One Side When Braking

A car that pulls to one side can be annoying and also dangerous. This braking problem can caused by several different things, even the tires (see below), but the most common cause is a frozen caliper. Over time, a caliper can freeze up gradually, a process that can go unnoticed for a long period of time.

One way a caliper can freeze up is by the piston on the caliper being stuck in its bore. If the dust boot that protects the piston from the elements gets torn, water and debris will penetrate the metal in the caliper and cause rust and corrosion. If the piston is stuck, and the fluid pressure can't push it back into the bore easily, the pressure on the pads will be uneven and the car will pull. To fix this problem you will need to replace the caliper.

Another possibility is that the pistons got bent, during a brake job or a car accident, and can't move freely any more, causing the caliper to bind and limiting the amount of pressure to the pads.

The caliper can also freeze up if the caliper slide pins have lost lubrication because they have not been maintained properly. If the slide pins are your problem, they need to be cleaned and lubricated or replaced. You can buy an overhaul kit for calipers, but they are hard to find and your caliper may not be worth bringing back to life. Buying a new caliper may cost more but you will make up the cost with the time you save. Been there, done that!

The Caliper

Caliper slide pins need to move freely
Caliper slide pins need to move freely | Source
The caliper piston needs to move back into its bore with no binding.
The caliper piston needs to move back into its bore with no binding. | Source

Other Causes of a Pull to One Side When Braking

A faulty proportioning valve or master cylinder could also cause a pull to one side when braking; this is unusual but it does happen. Most braking systems work on a diagonal braking design for safety reasons; that is, the left front and right rear brakes work together and so do the right front and left rear. That way, if there is a leak in one part of the system, it should only affect one front brake and one rear brake. If this is what is going on, you need to identify and replace the faulty part.

A pull when braking may also have nothing to do with brakes. Bad front tires, or broken belts in a front tire, could cause it. Any pull caused by unevenly worn tires will be amplified when you step on the brakes. The tires' contact surfaces expand when you brake, thus putting more pressure on the bad tire and causing the pull to worsen. Replacing your tires will fix this, or you could try rotating your front tires to the rear of the vehicle.

3. Steering Wheel Shakes When Brakes Are Applied

This is a very common brake issue on all makes and models: when you’re driving at highway speeds and you apply your brakes, the steering wheel shakes.

There are many possible causes of this shaking, including the front rotors being warped, hot spots (slight irregularities) on your rotors caused by excessive heat, or pad impressions. If your car sits for long periods without moving, moisture from rain or high humidity causes your rotors to rust, except for the patch of rotor surface where the pads rest. This patch of uneven rotor surface is called a pad impression and will cause the brakes to pulsate.

This brake pulsation can be fixed very easily by having your rotors resurfaced (which is cheaper) or replaced (more expensive). You can resurface the rotors if they are still thick enough. Every rotor has a "minimum spec" for thickness, usually stamped on the rotor near the hub where the lug nuts are. The rotor needs to be measured at the thinnest point with a micrometer or vernier caliper to determine whether it can be resurfaced or not.

Steering Wheel Vibration When Braking

An intermittent noise when braking lightly, as in the video below, could also be related to an uneven surface on the rotors.

4. Brake Pedal Pulses Up and Down When Applying Brakes

If every time you apply your brakes, your brake pedal pulses up and down, the problem is usually caused by the rotors being warped or out of true. As rotors age, they go through the heating and cooling process thousands of times, so it's inevitable for them to lose their shape or trueness. If you do a lot of highway driving and you happen to be hard on your brakes, you will probably run into this problem many times in the life of your car.

The fix for this brake problem is simple: resurfacing the rotors, if they are still thick enough (see section 3 above), or replacing them if they are not. If you do either of these processes, and your brake pads are more than half worn, it’s worth it to just replace the pads at the same time for the peace of mind it will give you; pads wear out frequently (they are a consumable item) and you might as well deal with them while in the neighborhood.

EBC Brakes DP6993 6000 Series Greenstuff Truck and SUV Brake Pad
EBC Brakes DP6993 6000 Series Greenstuff Truck and SUV Brake Pad

EBC makes quality brake pads that don't make much noise.

 

A Scraping Noise After a Brake Job May Be Easy to Fix

5. Whole Car Shakes When Brakes Are Applied

If your whole car shakes when your brakes are applied, it could be just your rear brakes. As a rule of thumb, shaking caused by a problem in the front end of the car will be felt in the steering wheel, while shaking in the rear will seem to affect the whole car.

To determine if your rear brakes are the problem, you need to test them in isolation. One way to test your rear drum brakes is to apply the parking brake slightly while driving, because the parking brake uses the drum brakes in the rear. You can do this test if your emergency brake handle is near the center console and it is the style that you pull up with your hand. Note: I don’t recommend pulling up on the emergency brake handle at high speeds, it can cause your rear brakes to lock up and send the vehicle into a spin causing death or serious injury!

To do this test, drive your car in a remote location with no traffic at a speed of about 30 miles an hour. Push and hold the release button on the end of the emergency brake handle; this is so the emergency brake does not lock into place and can be released easily. Meanwhile, pull up on the handle just enough to feel the rear brakes grab slightly. If your rear drums are the cause of the brake pulsation, you will feel the pulsation at this time, and the car will shake when the emergency brake is applied.

If this is your problem, then the fix is to resurface the rear drums or replace them. Again, you will have to measure the drums to determine if they can be resurfaced or not.

If you have rear disc brakes, this procedure may not work because some makes and models have a separate emergency brake, which is connected not to the rear rotor and caliper, but to a special drum inside the rear rotors with a separate braking system. If you have this type of rear braking system, it is almost impossible to isolate the rear brakes.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this information will help you (and your mechanic) decide where to start when fixing your problem. When you are in a crisis situation like a brake problem, some mechanics will take advantage of the customer and over-sell the work that really needs to be done. There are only about nine evil mechanics in the world, they just move around a lot!

If you found this information useful, why not share it, for example on Facebook or Twitter using the "Like" or "Tweet" buttons at the top of the page. Thank you for all your help :)

More on Brakes by Eddie Carrara

Questions & Answers

  • My Chevrolet 2006 has some braking problems. The steering wheel vibrates all the time and always veers to the left. When I apply the brakes, especially downhill, I feel the brake pedal presses itself more than I do. Sometimes, though not very often, the brakes won't work, and it sounds like it's grinding for one or two seconds. When that happens, I release the brakes and apply them again super fast. Can you help me understand where the problems are and what I should repair or replace?

    The first thing you need to do is remove all four wheels and inspect all caliper slide pins, pistons, and brake pads and shoes. It sounds to me like some components aren't moving freely and are getting stuck causing the pulling and noises. If you don't know what to look for, have a mechanic who knows what they are doing and are reputable to inspect the brakes.

  • Will a bad master cylinder cause the calipers to stick? I put new calipers, rotors and rubber lines on a couple of months ago and now the calipers stick sometimes.

    Most likely your caliper is defective, if it were the master it would most likely be more then one brake caliper sticking.

  • A year and a half ago (from 78,000 to 88,000 miles), I had the whole brake system replaced, i.e., pad, rotor, and lines. The mechanic is now telling me I need all of those parts replace again. Is this possible?

    No, you should really look for a new mechanic, pads maybe if you drive a ton of miles in stop and go traffic or you're a mail carrier, lines are rarely replaced.

  • What if your car is going through brake fluid fast and your brakes don't want to work?

    This means that you have a leak in the system and you most likely have air in the brake lines. I recommend having all the brake lines, calipers, and the master cylinder checked for leaks. I highly recommend having your car towed; this is a very dangerous situation, and the problem needs to be fixed before the car is driven.

  • I just had brakes and rotors done two months ago on my vehicle. Now I have loud grinding sounds coming from the front left tire. Is this a caliper or could it be a blockage in the brake hose?

    The grinding sound may be something caught between the backing plate and rotor. I recommend having this area of the brakes inspected first.

Comments

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    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      HI Meelah,

      Have the brake master cylinder checked first.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      HI Carole,

      If you know of another mechanic who can take a look at it they may find something like a vacuum line or ground wire isn't connected. The check engine light may point you in the direction of the problem, you may have more then one problem, and one may be causing your hard starting issue. Let me know your thoughts.

    • Carole Okamoto profile image

      Carole 

      2 weeks ago from Alaska

      I have a 2002 Isuzu Trooper and lost my brakes, took it to a mechanic who replaced a Master Cylinder and a couple of weeks later I had the right side valve cover gasket replaced. Ever since then I have had problems with my car not starting and I have had to have a hard jump to get it started-and many times it took some trying to get the car started. Once when trying to start it I had a friend in the car who pushed on the brake pedal and it started. I bought a new battery and still problems. Took it back to mechanic and he said it was a loose cable so I have had the cables connected to the battery checked and still it will not start. My ASB light is on and the car pulls to the left when I put on the brakes. My check engine light is on and has been for several years and my mechanic said not to worry about it unless it flashes. I am a widow and very frustrated. Willing to have the car fixed but what can I do if the mechanic does not/cannot fix it? Can you help...pleeese!!!

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      3 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, its usually because the caliper slide pins or piston is frozen. The most common cause of the brake pedal going to the floor is the master cylinder.

    • profile image

      Steve 

      3 weeks ago

      Can your brake peddle go to the floor because of a bad caliper

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      7 weeks ago

      My Suburban is grabbing on the back right brake only, wearing the shoe down to the metal. The shop working on it cant figure out why. They have replaced all of the necessary standard brake parts, and put it all back together, and it still grabs. Any ideas?

    • profile image

      Chris 

      7 weeks ago

      how come my car wont stop when i push down on the brakes? It goes all the way down to the floor? It has brake fluid its not leaking brake fluid either.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Shirley,

      Either your cables are binding or your emergency pad/shoes are not releasing and need servicing.

    • profile image

      Shirley keough 

      8 weeks ago

      I have a 2010 dodge caravan applied the hand brake and it won't release

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi James,

      Usually the stability system will stop your vehicle from spinning out like when you do doughnuts in a parking lot, if your stability system is on and you try to fishtail or swig the ass end of your car out while driving around a sharp corner, you car will prevent you from having fun or may save your life, it all depends on the situation.

    • profile image

      James Burnett 

      2 months ago

      what is my service stability system

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Larry,

      Something is applying the brakes lightly causing the fluid to heat up and expand causing more pressure to build in the braking system and apply the brakes. I have seem misadjusted brake light switches cause this problem, misadjusted booster pushrods. When this happens, is the re any free plat at the top of the brake pedal? if not try adjusting the pushrod under the dash at the inside of the brake booster or check the brake light switch adjustment. Let me know what you find.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Penny,

      You think they might have checked the brakes on the 45k service? I recommend taking it back and tell the mechanic the noise is still there (what, no road test after a brake job?) don't let them charge you a dime, this is the third time back. Most likely the rotor backing plate need to be adjusted because there is not enough clearance between the rotor and backing plate. Let me know what happens, thanks Penny :)

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Mechelle,

      I answered there questions on you last post :) let me know is you have more questions.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      2 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Michelle,

      Most likely the brake light switch at the brake pedal is not working and needs to be replaced. The hazards only work the outer brake lights, not the third brake light. You should hear hissing when pressing the brake pedal because it uses a vacuum booster to assist when braking and you hear vacuum being released. Let me know if I answered all you questions :)

    • profile image

      Larry 

      2 months ago

      HI Eddie, I have an 2006 Ford F150... I started having several brake issues at one time. First I had the pedal to the floor , had it checked by a mechanic and said there was nothing wrong with the master cylinder. The problem was intermittent. So I replaced the master cylinder myself. (first one I have done) It seems to have fixed the problem so far.

      At the same time the brakes applied themselves while sitting at an idle. Driving a few minutes away to get it home, it had turned the rotors blue from over heating. I turned off the motor and let it sit a while. Restarted the motor and it cleared the problem on it's own.

      Now the brakes are applying themselves again not as hard but noticeable. I have found it I disconnect the battery, turn the the key on (have no idea if the key part makes a difference) for about 30 seconds. Turn off the key and re-connect the battery it will clear the issues.

      The abs light is (NOT) on

      Any idea's ?

      Thank you so much !

    • profile image

      penny 

      2 months ago

      my car went for 45000 service after that there was a sound on the rear brake i took it back they said they brake pads were almost finished and now after the brake pads replaced the sound is still there please advise what might be the problem.

    • profile image

      MissSchelle 

      2 months ago

      Hi Eddie

      I posted a question before but forgot to sign in

      I have a 2000 model VT Holden Commodore

      When getting it ready for a roadworthy certificate we noticed the break lights weren’t working

      the break pedal was going all the way to the floor with barely any effort and there didn’t seem to be any pressure and a lot of loud hissing/air releasing noise.

      But noticed that when the engine is off and you try to press the pedal that the pressure was there and built up quickly making it hard to push the pedal to not able after 3-4 pumps and no hissing

      further tested the rear break lights turning on the hazard lights

      When doing this the two rear lights would work/flash but the third light that is situated in the rear window did not work at all

      What could be the reasons behind these problems pls help

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      2 months ago

      Hi Eddie

      I have a 2000 VT Holden commodore

      As I was checking my rear break lights to see if they were working I noticed that they were not coming on when pushing the break pedle there seemed no pressure and was sinking to the floor with very little pressure applied, there is also a loud hissing noise when pressing the peddle , I noticed that the break lights also weren’t coming on so I tested the hazards to see if they were working and both rear end lights worked but the break/hazard light in the rear window was not working,

      I also noted with the break peddle when pressing it with the engine off there was pressure

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ryan,

      It sounds like your got a defective master cylinder. Have you checked the brake fluid level yet? If it's ;ow, you may have a leak, if it's full, the master cylinder is probably defective.

    • profile image

      Ryan Cerutti 

      4 months ago

      Hello there. Back in March 17 I replaced master due to pedal to floor. Brakes were much better but after a while had to put.a ton of force on brake to stop and when it was snow n Ice I had to pump a lot of would slide. This is a 2011 toy camry de 4cyl btw. Now today our of no where when comming yo stop brakes start to work but pedal gradually makes way to floor.and car won't stop. Any ideas.thanks

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Steve,

      There are only 3 things that I know of that can do this,

      1. The ABS modulator has an internal malfunction.

      2. The Brake light switch is out of adjustment and is pushing on the brake pedal slightly, there should be some free play when your brake pedal is at the top.

      3. A blockage in a line, if it's only one wheel, it could be that line going from the master to the caliper, usually it's the rubber flex portion.

      Let me know this helps.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Edward,

      Did you leave something loose like a caliper bolt? What did you do to your brakes? What did you change or take apart?

    • profile image

      Edward 

      4 months ago

      I just got done doing my brakes and my driver side wheel is making a clunking noise what could be making that noise

    • profile image

      Steve 

      4 months ago

      I seem to have a brake problem and cannot locate the problem... my wheels keep locking / braking on their own. I have change breaks all around, calipers, master brake assistant (under reservoir), reservoir and it keeps doing it. doesn't matter if I am speeding or not. there is always a resistance. i also got fire in the front wheels at some point.

      it is my 3rd time to the garage. they have no clue what it could be... would you have an idea?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      4 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Troy,

      I guess you have drum brakes? If so, you'll need to adjust the rear brakes, if you don't know how to do it, you may want to have a mechanic do it for you, if it's done wrong, you could lock up the rear brakes by over tightening them. Let me know if you have more questions or if you have disc brakes.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      4 months ago from New Hampshire

      It's not a bad idea to get a second opinion and a thorough brake inspection should only cost about a half hour labor. Let me know what you decide to do, thanks.

    • profile image

      Suzukiswift99 

      4 months ago

      Hello, my brake on my car was spongey and went to the floor last week. I took my car to a garage, but being a young female he unfortunately took advantage of me. He replaced my brake pads without asking me, and then did not go into description of any other work he did. My brake now feels as if it is back to normal, however I am worried incase there is a leak or something which will lead to the brakes returning to how they were the other week, as he said that there is still work to do but he would not tell me what it was. Do you think I should get my car checked over?

    • profile image

      Troy 

      4 months ago

      I just replays the rear bearings on my 91 Toyota tercel once all put together correctly there was little to non brakes with no e brake at all could some one help me

      out

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      5 months ago from New Hampshire

      Sorry for the late reply Hal,

      Is the caliper sticking? If you jack that wheel up does it turn easy? Is the wheel getting hotter than the other wheels? The rotor will not make it pull, only a sticking caliper or a defective tire. Have you swapped the front tires side to side to see if it pulls in the other direction? Let me know, thanks.

    • profile image

      Hal 

      5 months ago

      I just replace the left front brake caliper on a 2005 Toyota Sienna vehicle pulls to the right at replace the road at the same time should I replace the right rotor as well it look like it was fairly new the the vehicle continues to pull to the right even after bleeding several times

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      5 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi T.J.,

      I would have to say it's either your brake master cylinder or proportioning valve. Are there any leaks in the system that you can see?

    • profile image

      T.j. 

      5 months ago

      Rear drivers side brake locked up so i replaced caliper and brake hose along with pads have jacked up and brakes dont work on drivers rear and passenger front went to bleed and no fluid goin to those two wheels other two diagonal gettin pressure what would cause this?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      5 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Jake,

      It sounds to me like you still have air in the RR line, I recommend bleeding the brakes a couple more times to e sure there is no air in the lines. Was this your initial problem or did this happen afte the brake repair?

    • profile image

      Jacob from Iowa 

      5 months ago

      So I have a 99 GMC jimmy and I bleed the brakes yesterday but the brake pedal sinks to the floor and my back passenger tire still rotates even though the car is stopped. What do you think the problem is?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Lisa,

      It sounds like you may have more than one problem, and if your brake pedal is soft I highly don't recommend driving it until you have it repaired, a tow would be much safer.

      If there is air in the lines that means you have a leak in the system and it is not safe to drive, you need to get this fixed first.

      The humming when driving is most likely the tires with uneven wear or a wheel bearing that is worn.

      The clicking noise could be a CV joint that is damaged and worn.

      Get the brakes checked first, and I don't recommend driving it, having it towed is the smartest and safest way to deliver the vehicle to the garage. Let me know what they find, thanks.

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      6 months ago

      Hi Eddie,

      I have a 2001 Honda CRV and the car brakes by itself as im driving and the petal does not want to cone back up. Such an anxious circumstance. It also gas a constant humming noise thats pretty loud and a clicking noise thst can even be felt from the passenger side floor board. Please help me figure out whats hoing on. I was told its safe to drive that it may posdibly be air in the lines or a brake booster problem. I don't know very much about cars do im lost. Thank you you so much for your time and God bless. (:

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ashley,

      I recommend you take the vehicle back to the shop that replace the front brake and have them check their work. If the vehicle didn't do this before the brake job, they may have made a mistake somewhere during the process. Let me know what happens.

    • profile image

      Ashley in Ohio 

      6 months ago

      Eddie,

      I could not tell you for sure, but it seems like my issues are in the front. When the brakes "slam" on me, I'm almost at a complete stop already. I haven't noticed any skidding, but locking up may be a better way to describe the "slamming" that happens sometimes.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Idelorme,

      Is this a push button start car or do you have to turn a key?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi JFrakes,

      You'll need to have the RR ABS sensor checked for any obstructions or damage, if everything looks ok, you may need to replace the wheel speed sensor.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi A. Rod,

      If you have to pump the brakes to help you stop or to make the brake pedal hard most likely you still have air in the system, you may want to have a professional bleed the system for you, sometimes it can be tricky to get all the air out.

      If the engine wants to stall when pumping the brake at idle, that is a sign that the brake booster has a leak or vacuum is bleeding off the engine causing the stalling problem.

    • profile image

      A.rod 

      6 months ago

      I changed my brakes,master cylinder and rotors on my 2003 v8 Lincoln Ls premium sport but still doesn't brake as good I already bleed the brakes lines as well and brake pedal feels good not too hard not spongy but when I try to stop it it takes a couple pumps plus car feels like turning off when stopped someone told me it can be my brake booster??? But not sure just want to get it back on the road again any suggestions??

    • profile image

      jfrakes352 

      6 months ago

      I have an '03 Cadillac Deville DTS, and lately, whenever I make sweeping right-hand turns at 40 mph or faster, my right rear brake actuates and feels like the ABS is triggered. This is of some alarm to me, as this has happened while I am merging into freeway traffic, without warning. What is happening with my brakes??

    • profile image

      ldelorme25 

      6 months ago

      Hi Eddie, when i don't push really hard on the brakes , when i turn the key nothing happens , no sound , nothing

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ashley,

      Do you know if it's the front or rear brakes that are doing this? Are any of the wheels locking up and skidding? Let me know, thanks.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Idelorme25,

      I don't think it has anything to do with the brake, try starting it without doing that and see what happens. Let me know what happens, thanks.

    • profile image

      ldelorme25 

      6 months ago

      My car wont start unless i push really hard the brakes with two feet. What could the problem be?

    • profile image

      Ashley in Ohio 

      6 months ago

      Hi Eddie,

      I have an 04 Ford Ranger and it seems that when it is wet outside (dewy morning, raining, etc.) my brakes tend to slam when almost at a complete stop. At least, being "wet" outside seems to be the only thing that is consistent when this happens. I have recently had my rotors and pads replaced in the front, but today it rained and it happened again!

      I'm coming to a slow, controlled stop. Sometimes just pulling out of my apartment's parking lot is happens. So I'm not even going that fast when I go to stop.. but I've noticed each time the grass is wet from dew. I'm at a complete loss right now as to what to even look at for this issue??

      Your help is much appreciated!!

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      6 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tiffany,

      If the master cylinder was just replaced and you feel like the brake pedal has no free play most likely the mechanic did not make the correct adjustment on the master cylinder pushrod. I recommend bringing it back to the mechanic that replace the master cylinder, they may be able to make an adjustment on the pushrod under the dash that connects the brake booster to the brake pedal.

      Another thing to check is the brake pedal switch which controls your brake lights, it could be out of adjustment and causing too much pressure on the brake pedal and diminishing the free play. Let me know how you make out and let me know if you have any other questions, thanks.

    • profile image

      Tiffany 

      7 months ago

      so in august master cycliner was replaced and in november COMPLETE BRAKE JOB was done.. new pads, new rotors calipers and brake fluid.. But it now feels like the brakes are catching or sticking. the pedal has no leeway. I have taken it back to the mechanic and he has told me that he checked everything and nothing seems to be wrong. He suggested to take it to the dealership to run test..I have spent hours and hours looking this problem up.. Just don't know what to do now. My 2011 Escape has been checked and rechecked...

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Ian,

      If you were loosing brake fluid, you most likely still have a leak. Yes I believe you have air in the lines. You'll need to find the leak and have it fixed before getting the air out of the lines.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Rodnesseus,

      Sounds like you may have run low on braking material. I recommend having them checked asap.

    • profile image

      Rodnesseus Hanford 

      7 months ago

      I have a 1995 toyota avalon i was driving and about to stop at a red light but my brakes wouldnt stop and it made a grinding noise ,what is the problem

    • profile image

      ian brown 

      7 months ago

      Ps. I am no longer loosing brake fluid.

    • profile image

      ian brown 

      7 months ago

      Hi Eddie. My brake fluid had s slight leak. I have been topping up about once a month. We had s frozen day and when I started the car it over revved. I turned off and restarted fine. When I went to drive the brake now goes to floor. I can pump it to work. There's s vacuum to servo. Do you think it's taken air in from leak or servo broke. Diesel Volvo s40 2002. Thanks

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Preto,

      I'm not sure what you're asking. Do you want to know how much it cost to replaced the brake fluid? No more then $100 if they bleed each of the calipers.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Misty,

      Did you have the brakes bleed? Did a garage do the work? How long has this been happening before the master cylinder replacement?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      8 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Donnie,

      The brakes will get hard when the engine is off because when you step on the brake pedal you use up the vacuum stored in the vacuum brake booster. If the pedal almost goes to the floor, check your brake fluid level, if it's ok, have the master checked again at the garage who change it out for you, it should have a 12month 12k mile warranty.

    • profile image

      donnie 

      8 months ago

      hi eddie! please help. we had the master cylinder, pads, and rotors in our 02 nissan xterra replaced in october of 17. today while driving it felt like the stopping distance was much longer than usual, taking a long time to fully stop. when the car is off and i pump the brakes they get hard, but when the car is on and running and i pump them they squish almost to the floor every time. they don’t usually feel like this and only noticed today. there’s snow here but car is kept in garage. we also have a small motor oil leak. could this be air in the brakes? find it hard to believe it’s MC since we just had it replaced!

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      9 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Martin,

      When a brake pedal sinks to the floor and you. need to pump the pedal to stop, usually it's caused by a faulty master cylinder leaking internally. I recommend having a mechanic check it out before it gets worse. Let me know if you have more questions and keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

    • profile image

      Martin 

      9 months ago

      Hi Eddie

      I hope you are well, i have a problem with my Toyota Yaris 2002, when i suddenly break if am at high speed the break pedal goes straight to the floor and i hear some grinding noise on my foot pedal, so i have to push the pedal twice to stop on time, what could be the problem i replaced pads, break fluid,disks but still the same thing

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      10 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Nikki,

      I recommend taking it to a garage to have them check the brakes, ask to go for a ride with the mechanic first so you can point out the problem. You may just have warped rotors causing the brake pulsation under hard braking, but it's better to have them checked out by a mechanic than to guess. Let me know if you have more questions.

    • profile image

      nikkibruce 

      10 months ago

      Hi Eddie, can you please help?

      So recently I was driving 40mph and I forgot my turn was coming up so I had to do apply my brakes pretty sharp and I experienced my brake pedals shaking up and down whilst making what seems like snapping noises coming from under the car. Also, to mention whilst this was happening my car didn't even come to full stop and I was still creeping forward more than I should. I never experienced this before so I was a bit worried somethings wrong with my brakes. My MOT was done month before this had happened and I got new front brake pads replaced and had only one advisory that said "offside rear ( slight brake bind)".

      I should mention I'm pretty new driver who knows nothing about cars whatsoever but I'm very scared this would happen again. What should I do?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      12 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Jamie,

      The brakes must be getting very hot? It sounds like either your mechanic doesn't know what they are doing and the pads are jammed into the calipers or you have a blockage in the brake hydraulic system.

    • profile image

      Jaime 

      12 months ago

      My front pads keep running out every month 1/2.... to 2 months

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      13 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Sandra,

      Did you use Honda genuine brake pads?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      13 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Davida,

      It's possible you have a defective caliper and it's not releasing. Did you have this issue before the calipers were replaced? If not, then most likely is a defective caliper, if this is the reason you replaced the calipers, then you'll need to find the blockage in the braking system. Let me know what you find, thanks.

    • profile image

      sandra 

      13 months ago

      I have. A crv Honda my brakes on the drive side making noise I've. Changed brakes

    • profile image

      Davida 

      13 months ago

      I have a 2004 Pontiac grand am and we changed the breaks and calipers and the breaks are getting hot to the touch but also the car is kinda grabbing when u come to a complete stop and then try to drive off it jerks a couple times before it realeases I don't know what's wrong with it

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      13 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Jayme,

      It sounds like you may be experiencing brake fade because the fluid is getting too hot. do you smell anything hot when you walk around the car that would indicate a sticking caliper? If not, your brake master cylinder may have an internal leak causing the issue. If you sit in the vehicle with the engine running and just apply light brake pressure to the brake pedal, notice if it starts to sink to the floor slowly, if it does, the master cylinder is no good. Let me know what you find out, thanks.

    • profile image

      Jayme 

      13 months ago

      I have a 1995 Volvo 950, I drive it for about 30minutes with no problems, and then I have to start pushing the break almost all the way down to stop. Ill get to where I need to go being super careful, let the car sit, get back in to drive and same thing, around 30minutes the breaks go soft. I checked the break fluid level and its fine. Any thoughts?

    • profile image

      TJ 

      13 months ago

      What is happening when the brakes on my car make a 'hissing' sound or like air is releasing. Most noted at speeds of 60km/hr or greater

    • profile image

      Martina 

      14 months ago

      I have a 1995 Nissan pickup truck 2 wheel drive 2.4 4 cylinder automatic my brake lights don't work

    • profile image

      sam warren 

      14 months ago

      I have a 1951 chevy truck when I put the brakes on truck jumps to the left bad what causes this

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      14 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Frustrated in Florida,

      Do you drive with 2 feet? Be honest...If not, it's possible your brake light switch at the brake pedal is out of adjustment, it's a long shot, but you basically have replaced everything in the system. Let me know, thanks.

    • profile image

      Frustrated GMC Envoy owner 

      15 months ago

      HI have a question for you. I own a 2005 GMC Envoy and I have had nothing but brake problems for the past year-and-a-half. My brakes have been completely redone by my technician, including the wheel bearings, both front and rear, the power steering/ power brake pump, the master cylinder, the pads, the rotors, the drums, the calipers, caliper brackets and also the brake lines have all been replaced and yet every 6 months my brakes go out because something is keeping my brakes constantly engaged, thereby wearing out my brakes prematurely.

      As you can see from this extensive list pretty much everything that we can think of has already been replaced. Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you for all of your help!

      Frustrated in Florida

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      15 months ago from New Hampshire

      Is it possible to buy Dodge OEM brakes online?

    • profile image

      Hussnain3232 

      15 months ago

      YES.. i had this Problem before changing the brake pads, that was my only cause to change the Brake Pad.

      Now some idiotic sound has started coming from brakes. like.. cheeeeeen , GRRRH. i am really fed up. and doesnt have any dodge authorized dealer near my Place.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      15 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hey Cowboy,

      It's possible you have a sticking caliper. Are both front wheels heating up? Are the rotors turning a dark blue?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      15 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Hussnain,

      Did you have this trouble before the brakes were replaced? The brakes should stop the vehicle the same each time with no regard to how many people are in the vehicle.

    • profile image

      fun cowboy 

      16 months ago

      I recently changed my front rotors and pads on a 2000 F150. Now, the rims seems to be heating up, especially in stop and go traffic. Any ideas?

    • profile image

      Pdc 

      16 months ago

      Just feels like my front brakes are working. Checked under brake pedal no leaks or any where else. 2000 Dodge 2500 v10 8 cylinder. Brake pedal is soft but does not go to floor. Brake reservoir is full no signs of leaks

    • profile image

      Hussnain3232 

      16 months ago

      Hi Eddie

      I own a Dodge Charger 2014 3.6 V6.

      when i drive alone my car brakes works just fine , but when my car is full of passengers the brakes work less means i have to push more and then car slips.Please tell me is it normal or is there something wrong.

      I just replaced my all Brake Pads with polishing the Disc's also.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      16 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Noufel5,

      What do you mean is slips? Is the vehicle skipping across the road? iIf so, have the shocks/struts checked for leaks.

    • profile image

      Noufel5 

      16 months ago

      Hi Eddie,

      I have Toyota Prado, when I break its slipping especially in rough roads. Please advice.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      16 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Heather,

      Does the engine run rough or do the RPM's change when this happens? Let me know, thanks.

    • profile image

      heather 

      17 months ago

      Hi,

      I have a 2011 Escape. When I start the vehicle and back out of the driveway (or a parking spot, etc), maybe 2 or 3 times out of ten my brake pedal goes hard and no matter how hard I push it, all I do is sort of coast to an eventual stop. I feel the pedal go hard when I put the vehicle into reverse. The mechanic I took it to replaced the front brakes, but that hasn't done anything to help this. Do you know what this might be? Will it remain only when the vehicle is in reverse, or is this something that could happen while I am driving forward as well?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Wayne,

      It sounds like you have air in the lines and the brake pedal is going to the floor. You'll need to bleed the brakes more to get the air out of the lines. It's very difficult to bleed the brakes on some GM vehicles and you may need to bring it to a garage to have them bleed. Let me know if you have more questions, thanks.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Sorry Jackie,

      There are several causes for this issue.

      1. The caliper slide pins are frozen and the pads are not releasing after coming to a stop.

      2. There is a blockage in the line and the pads are not releasing after coming to a stop.

      3. The caliper piston is frozen and the pads are not releasing after coming to a stop.

      4. The master cylinder has a problem.

      You'll need to have a mechanic who really understands brakes and what to look for. Let me know what they find, thanks.

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Morris,

      I'm not really sure what you mean by jacked up? Like on a lift or with a lift kit installed in the suspension? It shouldn't leak either way, unless you disturbed a line.

    • profile image

      Wayne 

      17 months ago

      I replaced the rear pads and the left rear caliper on my wife's 03 gmc envoy and now the rear brakes don't work.what could cause them to stop working after I replaced the pads and caliper?any advice would be helpful thanks

    • profile image

      Jackie 

      17 months ago

      Not helpful at all.I need to know why my 1996 Honda accord has a brake problem.put new brakes on.last about a year.my drivers side shows hardly any wear the passenger side completely worn out why.no other signs of a problem

    • profile image

      Morris 

      17 months ago

      If my truck is Jack up to high on the left side could I get a brake leak on the right side

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Tash,

      Check inside the vehicle above your brake pedal. You'll see the rod going from your brake pedal to the master cyl, you may also find the carpet wet and the rod dripping. If you don't find any leaks there, it may be leaking into the brake booster. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

    • profile image

      Tash 

      17 months ago

      I've gone through three bottles of brake fluid in two weeks, but I don't ever see any signs of a leak on the ground. Where (or what) should I check to see what the problem may be?

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Chelsae,

      I know I'm a day late and a dollar short with my reply, but here goes. The pop sounds like your cooling system let go, like a hose or a cap, the clue is the white smoke (I think) did you have it looked at yet? do you still have questions?

    • profile image

      Chelsae 

      17 months ago

      Hi Eddie,

      This morning I had to make a quick run to Walmart for diapers, all before my husband left town for work for the weekend. All was fine on the way in, but when I went to leave the parking lot, after about 3 or 4 seconds Of driving down the isle of the lot, I suddenly heard a loud pop or snapping noise, like I had run over a glass bottle at 60 mph type of blow up. In shock I proceeded another 2 secs of which there was a continuous "knock" as well as a grinding type noise, definitely located in the vacinity of the left drivers side tire. The grinding and knocking seemed much more intense as I turned my wheel to the left to pull into a parking space to investigate what I thought for sure was something hanging down from underneath my car. Nothing, I didn't see anything? So I got back in, turned on my hazards in a last fleeting attempt to gently coast my way through town, and back home.

      Here I am coasting down the side of the road at less than 5 mph praying I can ease big bertha ( my van) along, and somehow make it the 5 mile stretch home. I start to smell burning,this is followed by a fairly large amount of white smoke. I stop, clearly I won't be going anywhere. As I ponder my next move ( my cell phone is dead as usual, and I know I'm going to get an earful from my husband for "letting it die while I'm out, he doesn't know where, or if I'm "O.K"). Suddenly a loud POP!, And I've just sunk to the ground.

      What happened? It's a 2002 ford windstar ( I think SE) about 98,000 miles. My husband was in an accident with it about 3 years ago and from what the mechanic said is the tyrod ( sorry spelling) was bent, not just a little almost in half, I'm not sure if this is pertinent information or not so, just incase. I just had it towed ( and dummy me didn't leave keys) cost me an arm and a leg, they drove across town (past my car) to my house to pick up the keys, and then back to get big bertha to the doctor. I'm waiting now to hear from the mechanic, however I'm giving myself a panic attack over not knowing what's wrong, not being able to google my situation in a fashion that will render a response even remotely similar to my current situation. Not to mention the angst over the question of weather I need to auction off my first born to foot the bill? ( lol kidding, but not kidding, I'm freaking out !) please!, if you will kindly offer to me, any thoughts as to what happened to Bertha, and/or what something of this nature could potentially cost me? I would be so grateful!

      Sincerely

      Chelsae E.W

      & Big Bertha

    • eddiecarrara profile imageAUTHOR

      Eddie Carrara 

      17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Lori,

      Sounds like you may have either air in the system or a brake fluid leak. Has this always been a problem? Has this issue every been fixed with the parts you've replaced? Let me know, thanks.

    • profile image

      Lori 

      18 months ago

      I have a chevy equinox that I have changed the master cylinder, power booster and shocks breaks twice. Anyways, when I step on the breaks it feels like something is blocking it, although it still starts to stop the car, I usually have to lift up on the break and re-apply for it to break normally. My ABS and tractsion light is alway coming on and off at random times. Any ideas with this situation?

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