Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

How To Troubleshoot A Brake Pedal

If you have noticed that your brake pedal is sinking or causing other worrisome problems, it should not be ignored. In general, the longer you go without having your brakes looked at, the worse the damage can be. Here are some troubleshooting tips for your brake pedal so you can determine what the problem might be.

The Pedal Sinks to the Floor

There is no reason you need to press your brake pedal all the way to the ground just to slow down or stop your vehicle. This can actually be a sign of a few problems. The first issue is the easiest to check, which is that you have low brake fluid. Look near the back of the engine on the driver's side of the vehicle under the hood, and you will find the master cylinder. This is what holds the brake fluid reservoir. If the brake fluid looks low, re-fill it.

If there is enough fluid, but you have reason to believe it has become contaminated, flush it out and replace it with fresh fluid. Your pedal may also be sinking to the floor if you have worn brake pads, or a bad brake power boost unit. If you hear noises when applying the brakes, that is good enough reason to have them looked at.

The Brake Pedal Feels Firm

If you have been driving your vehicle around for a while, you know what it feels like when you apply moderate pressure, and your vehicle starts to slow down. At some point, you might notice that it feels firmer and requires a lot more strength to apply it. This may be a sign of vacuum problems, which has to do with the brake booster. There is a vacuum in the brake booster that helps you use the brakes and get them to stop the vehicle. If the vacuum has a leak, it won't work properly, and you need to apply more pressure to the pedal to get it to work.

Another possibility is that you have an obstruction in the brake line. There might be a pinched brake line or something in the brake line, such as a piece of rust that has become lodged. Inspect the brake lines to see if you notice any obvious problems.

The Brakes Feel Weak

You might still be able to use your brakes as intended, but when you do so, they feel worn. Typically, you will get less braking power when applying them, or they will take a little longer to stop. On the other hand, they might feel a little squishy. This is another problem associated with having low brake fluid, showing how important it is to check the reservoir. It could also be from worn brake pads, which will give you a loud screaming sound when they are applied to let you know they need to be replaced.

For more information, contact Alignment Center or a similar company.