Brakes

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 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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  • 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 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 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 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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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  • Q: What does a brake system diagram show?

    A: A typical brake system diagram shows the location and configuration of the master cylinder, the distribution of the lines, valves, hoses and cables, and the configurations of the discs and rotors. Other features of a brake system diagram include parking brake elements and vacuum components.
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  • Q: How do brake booster kits improve your car's performance?

    A: Brake booster kits make the job of using the brakes less strenuous for drivers of vehicles without power brakes. Most modern vehicles are equipped with brake boosters from the factory in the form of power brakes. Many older and classic cars have drum brakes and were not manufactured with brake boosters. Depending on the vehicle, some older cars may not be able to accommodate the addition of brake booster kits.
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  • Q: How can you find a bad ground wire in a vehicle?

    A: Bad ground wires are usually attached to an accessory or engine component affected by a symptomatic electrical glitch. If the ground wire is loose, it may need to be reattached firmly; if it appears attached, a voltmeter can be used to locate breaks inside the wire's cladding.
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  • Q: What are the common causes of pulsating car brakes?

    A: The common causes of pulsating car brakes can include the Antibrake System (ABS), a poorly installed wheel or a warped rotor. In fact, pulsating car brakes is a common complaint regarding ABS brakes when the ABS system kicks in. This usually happens when braking on ice, wet roads, or gravel.
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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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  • What is a dial indicator used for?

    Q: What is a dial indicator used for?

    A: A dial indicator is used to display small measurement changes in an amplified form in order to make them more relevant to those monitoring the readings. The gradations measured with a dial indicator are small, typically 0.001 inch to 0.100 inch.
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  • Q: How can you repair a brake master cylinder?

    A: Repairing a brake master cylinder depends on the problem of the cylinder. One common problem is seal leakage. To repair the leakage, detach the cylinder from the car, dismantle it, replace the piston seals, reassemble the cylinder, replace the cylinder, and bleed the brakes. A brake master cylinder kit is handy for this task.
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  • Q: What are the benefits of proper brake lights?

    A: Properly functioning brake lights help improve the safety of a vehicle and are legally required in most jurisdictions. Brake lights that do not function correctly can reduce the visibility of the vehicle at night and can also send incorrect signals to other drivers, increasing the chance of a potential accident.
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