Brakes

A:

Common causes of uneven brake pad wear include driving with warped rotors, a clogged brake line or leaky calipers. Vehicles that are heavier in the front than in the rear can wear brake pads unevenly due to an uneven distribution of weight. Debris in the breaking system, such as rocks or other foreign objects, wears brake pads down unevenly as well.

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  • What is the average life of brake pads?

    Q: What is the average life of brake pads?

    A: The average life of brake pads is 30,000 to 70,000 miles. A number of factors affect the point at which brake pads wear out. Pads are made of various materials for different types of braking systems.
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  • What causes the brake pedal to go all the way in?

    Q: What causes the brake pedal to go all the way in?

    A: Some reasons why a brake pedal may depress all the way to the floor include loss of brake fluid, a faulty master cylinder or a bad brake booster. Drivers who "ride the brakes," or constantly depress the brake pedal while driving, can cause this condition.
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  • What could cause a car to shake when braking at high speed?

    Q: What could cause a car to shake when braking at high speed?

    A: A problem with the brake disk rotors is the most common cause of vibration when braking at high speeds. Rotors are circular metal parts found behind the wheel of the vehicle that the brake pads press against to create friction and stop the vehicle. Small irregularities in the rotors transfer to the steering wheel when applying the brakes. Another cause of vibration is improperly tightened lug nuts.
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  • Why do my brakes grind when I come to a stop?

    Q: Why do my brakes grind when I come to a stop?

    A: If a car's brakes grind when the car comes to a stop, worn out or defective brake pads could be damaging the rotors of the brakes. Brake problems of any kind should be inspected and taken care of as soon as possible to avoid further damage and reduce the chances of the brakes failing entirely.
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  • What causes squeaking brakes?

    Q: What causes squeaking brakes?

    A: When the brake pads come in contact with the brake rotor to slow and stop a vehicle, the pressure and friction occasionally cause a vibration that produces a squeaking sound. These squeaks are often normal, but they may also mean that the brakes are starting to wear out.
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  • Why is my brake pedal hard to push?

    Q: Why is my brake pedal hard to push?

    A: A brake pedal can be hard to push because of several factors, including a brake pedal getting caught on something, failure of the power brake booster or a sticking shoe, which causes the brake fluid to boil. Additionally, a brake can be hard to push if water builds up in the brake line or as a result of a restriction in the brake line.
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  • How do you release a stuck parking brake?

    Q: How do you release a stuck parking brake?

    A: If an emergency brake is stuck, it may help to pump the regular brake a few times, lubricate the emergency brake cable or release button, or locate a repair manual for vehicle-specific instructions. If the car changes gears, shifting the gear from drive to reverse a few times may also loosen the emergency brake.
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  • What are the signs of bad rotors?

    Q: What are the signs of bad rotors?

    A: Signs of bad rotors include vibration when the brake petal is depressed, and a visual inspection that reveals wear and tear. Rotors can be replaced or resurfaced unless they are under a certain thickness. A rotor that is too thin does not absorb the immense heat of the braking process and may crack or break while in use, causing brake failure.
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  • What happens when you drive with the emergency brake on?

    Q: What happens when you drive with the emergency brake on?

    A: Most of the time, driving with the emergency brake engaged does little harm, but the driver should have a professional inspect the brakes for damage. In many instances, the driver notes the smell of hot brakes and disengages the brake, but prolonged driving with the brake engaged potentially ruins the rear brake shoe linings or drums.
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  • How is a brake chamber measured?

    Q: How is a brake chamber measured?

    A: An air brake chamber is measured by locating size markings on the brake chamber or by measuring the diameter of the clamp holding the chamber together. Measuring the diameter requires a special tool, whereas locating the size markings may require the removal of dirt, corrosion or paint. Brake chamber sizes can be found in the vehicle owner's manual.
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  • How do hydraulic breaking systems work?

    Q: How do hydraulic breaking systems work?

    A: According to HowStuffWorks, a hydraulic braking system works by applying force at one point and transmitting it to another point via an incompressible fluid. In a hydraulic braking system for a car, for instance, the force is applied by the driver's foot on the brake pedal. This force is then transmitted to the brakes via the brake fluid.
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  • What causes uneven brake pad wear?

    Q: What causes uneven brake pad wear?

    A: Common causes of uneven brake pad wear include driving with warped rotors, a clogged brake line or leaky calipers. Vehicles that are heavier in the front than in the rear can wear brake pads unevenly due to an uneven distribution of weight. Debris in the breaking system, such as rocks or other foreign objects, wears brake pads down unevenly as well.
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  • What happens if the brake fluid is low in a car?

    Q: What happens if the brake fluid is low in a car?

    A: Motor vehicles with low brake fluid require a mechanical inspection to avoid experiencing a brake system failure. Low brake fluid typically means that a vehicle's brake pads are wearing thin or that there is a leak in the brake line system. Neglecting to address low brake fluid is bound to lead to potentially unsafe and expensive problems.
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  • Q: How do you find a diagram for a rear drum brake?

    A: Diagrams of rear drum brakes can be found on some automotive websites. Examples of sites with rear drum brake diagrams include BC4x4.com and GreaseGirl.com.
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  • Q: What is an acceptable front and rear brake lining thickness?

    A: An acceptable front or rear brake lining thickness is anywhere between the standard 12 millimeter thickness when the break pads are new and 3 millimeter thickness after they become worn. At 3 millimeters, the sensors get exposed and make contact with the disc or rotor, creating a squealing sound.
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  • Q: What are some common methods for repairing a brake line?

    A: To repair a brake line, you must remove the old brake line, install the new brake line, add brake fluid to the system and bleed the brakes. This can be done without professional help, but it requires brake fluid, new brake lines, open-end wrenches and clean rags. Safely support the car using jack stands before beginning repairs.
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  • Q: What causes a hard brake pedal?

    A: A hard brake pedal is most often caused by a lack of vacuum, but can also be caused by using the wrong hose, using a defective brake booster check valve or using a defective booster. It is also possible to run a combination valve where the valve is no longer centered, which can cause a hard pedal in a person's car.
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  • Q: How do hydro-boost brakes work?

    A: Hydro-boost brakes work by applying hydraulic pressure from the power steering system to assist in braking. When the brakes are applied, hydraulic fluid flows from the power steering pump to increase braking effort, while fluid also flows from the hydro-boost system to the steering gear to assist in power steering.
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  • Q: How do you add brake fluid to your vehicle?

    A: To add brake fluid to a vehicle, clean the reservoir cover, open the reservoir, check the fluid level and fill the reservoir to the indicated level. If the vehicle is equipped with an antilock braking system, check the owner's manual for special instructions before opening the cap.
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  • Q: How do you change the drum brakes on a 1974 VW Thing?

    A: To replace a brake drum in a 1974 Volkswagen Thing, remove the wheel, the dust cover and the large bolt behind the wheel that secures the drum, and then pry the outer drum loose. Since a 1970s Volkswagen is a classic car, the drum brake may be affixed to the axle by rust, and it can take a blowtorch to pry it off the axle.
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  • Q: How do you replace a disk brake backing plate?

    A: To replace a damaged disc brake backing plate, you need a lug nut wrench, a socket and ratchet, a screwdriver, a tubing wrench, an allen wrench, and some WD-40 spray. Replacing the backing plate involves removing the original plate from the end of the axle and attaching a new backing plate with bearings back into its place.
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