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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Can average home mechanics install their own brake pads?

    Q: Can average home mechanics install their own brake pads?

    A: The average home mechanic can change his own brake pads, but the task takes about an hour. The task is more complex than other vehicle maintenance tasks. The primary expense for doing the job is the cost of replacement brake pads.
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  • Q: How can you tell if your car has anti-lock brakes?

    A: A person can determine if a vehicle has anti-lock brakes by consulting the vehicle's owner's manual to see information about the car's parts and features or by looking for an "ABS" indicator light on the vehicle's instrument panel when the car is first turned on. Anti-lock brakes are more commonly found in newer vehicles. Some benefits of them are that they are less likely to skid and they can be easier to maintain steering with while braking, helping the driver keep control of the car when braking suddenly.
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  • Q: What are some tips for installing electric trailer brakes?

    A: To install electric trailer brakes, first remove the existing hub. To remove the wheel, uplift the trailer and support it. Gently pull out the grease dust cap using a screwdriver. Beneath the cap there is a large nut or a cotter pin, and above the nut there is a small metal clip.
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  • Q: What is included in a typical brake job?

    A: A typical complete brake job usually includes new front and rear linings, resurfacing of rotors and drums, and replacing drum hardware, caliper bushings and sleeves. The brake fluid is tested and flushed if necessary, the wheel bearings are inspected, and critical areas such as caliper slides are lubricated.
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  • Q: Are ceramic or semi-metallic brake pads better?

    A: Ceramic brake pads are best for small cars, while semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for larger vehicles like sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The major differences between the two types are the amount of stopping power and the noise associated with braking. Some vehicles are only serviceable by ceramic or metallic brake pads depending on the size.
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  • Q: Why does your car shudder when you apply the brakes?

    A: If the car is shuddering when the brakes are applied, the brake pads are warped and require replacement. Brake rotors are the braking surface on the wheel. When warped brake pads are compressed, they will not sit flush with the rotor which will cause the car to vibrate while the vehicle is stopping.
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  • Q: What kind of brakes does my car have?

    A: If the car was purchased new, check the owner's manual or with the manufacturer. If it was purchased second hand, a previous owner may have installed different braking system parts.
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  • Q: Why would brakes squeak?

    A: If brakes make a consistent high-pitched squeak, even with gentle braking, the brakes are likely completely worn out. Some noise from the brakes during operation is considered normal, as various driving conditions cause different noises.
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