Imagine you’re driving down the road, and suddenly you need to stop, but it feels like you literally have to stand on your brake pedal to get it to go down. This issue is not only dangerous, but it can also be extremely frustrating. So, what causes the brake pedal to stick, and how can you fix it? Check out this helpful guide that explains some common causes of a sticking brake pedal and how to remedy the problem.
Get Rid of the Sludge
Your brake fluid absorbs water, and this can cause nasty to sludge to buildup as time goes on, accumulating in the braking system. This icky buildup will make it feel like your brakes are failing, but it likely just needs to be cleaned out. Check your brake fluid by removing the cap from the reservoir. Scrape the reservoir using a flathead screwdriver, and take a closer look at what comes out. If the fluid is dirty, thick, and dark it likely needs to be flushed and replaced. You can take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for a total brake fluid flush service and this should remedy the issue.
If your vehicle has power brakes, the engine vacuum is what provides it with the power it needs to operate. This technology has actually been used since around the early 1950s, so it’s nothing new to most experienced mechanics. The process works by using vacuum from the engine intake manifold, which multiplies the force applied to your brake pedal, making it easier for you to come to a complete stop. If the front seal is damaged, it can cause an issue with this vacuum system. It could also cause the rear seal on your master cylinder to fail. You can tell this is a problem if you see drops down the front of the booster, which may mean the entire booster and master cylinder needs to be replaced.
A hose located between the engine and the booster is what creates the vacuum effect. Check this hose and look for any cracks or other signs of damage. You can replace the hose by loosening the nuts that secure the mastery cylinder to the booster. If you don’t see any leaks, start your engine and lightly press down on the brake pedal. Listen carefully for a strange hissing noise. If you hear it, this means the front booster seal is leaking and needs to be replaced. When in doubt, always take your vehicle in for professional service so you can brake safely and in confidence.