3 Common Brake Pedal Problems and Solutions

Car Service in Reading
7 min readOct 18, 2022

Every motorist is intimately familiar with the brake pedal, which is a piece of metal.

When you want to slow down, you press down on it.

Until it stops working, you usually don’t give your brake pedal a second thought.

Then, it’s possible that you can’t stop thinking about it and need to have it checked out by a car mechanic pretty quickly. To do this, look online for car garages in Reading and make an appointment as soon as you can.

What is causing your brake pedal to behave weirdly, then?

Furthermore, what can you do to fix the situation?

We’ll look at how brake pedal’s function, potential problems, and the best approach to get your brake pedal repaired in this post.

To establish if you had any brake system problems in the past, a part form looking at any previous car repair invoices, if available, you can check MOT history of your car and confirm if a previous MOT test failed due to the braking system.

Three Typical Brake Pedal Issues

Rarely will you find a physical fault with the brake pedal, but you may tell if there is a brake problem by how the pedal feels when you push it.

What to watch out for is listed below for faulty brake pedal symptoms:

Symptom 1: Soft Brake Pedal or Brake Pedal Drops to The Floor

A soft brake pedal provides minimal resistance and has a mushy or spongy feel when you press down on it. A low brake pedal may dip to the floor when pressed and fail to rise back to its original position.

Regardless of whether this happens while you are driving, try repeatedly pressing the brake pedal to see whether pressure will build up in the brake lines, enabling you to stop as soon and safely as possible.

If you see this happening, you should call your mechanic rather than risk it and continue driving before you even consider departing to begin your trip. You can look up garages in Reading online and make bookings if you don’t already have a regular mechanic.

The four most typical causes of a soft brake pedal are listed below:

1. Air in Brake Lines — The channel through which braking pressure is applied is brake fluid. Your brake lines, which convey the fluid, may include air, which will lower the hydraulic pressure of the fluid and cause the brake pedal to feel spongy. Additionally, air can enter a brake line during maintenance, when you add brake fluid, or even with regular driving. Or, even worse, it might occur if your brake system has a leak. A search for “check my MOT history” revealed that malfunctioning brake system parts are frequently the cause of a MOT test failure.

2. Brake Fluid Leak — If there isn’t enough brake fluid in your brake system, your brake pedal will drop easily. The brake warning lights on your dashboard may also turn on due to low brake fluid. A leak in the brake fluid, which can happen at several locations throughout the brake system, is the most likely reason for this. Any piston seal at the master cylinder, brake caliper, or wheel cylinder can develop a leak, as can the brake hose, brake line, or wheel cylinder. Brake fluid might also leak from an old master cylinder reservoir that has cracked.Take note of the location of the leak if there is brake fluid under your car (which will range in colour from clear to light yellow to brown, depending on how old it is). Your mechanic can determine what part is leaking by checking the leaking location.

3. Regular Brake Pad Wear — Brake shoes and pads aren’t designed to last forever. The piston powering the calliper or wheel cylinder has to expand further to stop the wheel from rotating when the pads deteriorate and reach the end of their useful life. As a result, the brake fluid level will decrease, and the brake pedal may get lower. Usually, the brake fluid reservoir is big enough to handle this situation. But issues with other parts, such as a leaky seal on a hyperextended piston, can be brought on by the wear of the brake pads.

4. Failure of the Brake Master Cylinder — This causes the brake lines to fill with brake fluid. Additionally prone to wear and tear and ageing are seals inside the cylinder bore that house the master cylinder piston. The brake pedal will begin to sag to the floor as a result of the brake fluid leaking and the resulting decrease in brake line pressure.

Symptom 2: The Brake Pedal is Difficult or Hard to Press

A firm brake pedal is another sign that there are issues with the braking system. At this point, you’ll notice that applying pressure to the pedal requires more effort.

Avoid losing control of the vehicle if this occurs while you are driving, and your brake pedal feels locked. Apply a lower gearshift to use engine braking to slow the vehicle down. Apply the parking brake softly to stop in a secure location once you are travelling very slowly.

The three most typical causes of a hard brake pedal are listed below:

1. Failure Of the Brake Booster — A braking system with “power brakes” increases its power through the brake booster. Without it, stopping distances may significantly widen, putting you at danger of collision while making sudden stops. It works by multiplying the force supplied to the brake pedals, which facilitates braking, by using the engine manifold as a vacuum source. The most frequent reason for a defective brake booster is a front booster seal breakdown. When this occurs, the brakes may not even engage at all, making it more difficult to press the pedal.In addition, a failing front booster seal can eventually lead to the master cylinder’s rear seal failing. A brake booster’s failure might be caused by wear or old age. Additionally, as the brakes are applied more frequently for a vehicle in stop-and-go traffic, boosters might degrade more quickly.

2. Leaking Vacuum Hose: The brake booster receives vacuum through the vacuum hose. The brake booster may malfunction due to a vacuum hose issue (such as a leak), which will result in a stiff brake pedal.

3. Brake Fluid Contamination — Brake fluid is an absorbent fluid that absorbs water. Over time, sludge will accumulate in the brake system, giving the impression that the brake booster is malfunctioning. Take your vehicle to the mechanic for a check-up when this occurs and have the brake fluid changed.

Symptom 3 — Brake Pedal Pulse

Periodically, you can experience pulsing or shaking in your brake pedal.

Brake pedals that pulse are they dangerous?

Mild pulsation may not immediately indicate cause for alarm. However, you should be aware that even a small amount of pulsation might affect how well your ABS works with your brakes and lengthen braking distances during severe stops.

Pedal pulsation can result in uneven braking under extreme circumstances or when wheel grip is poor (such as on slippery or snowy roads), making the car difficult to manage.

Here are a few common reasons why the brake pedal pulses:

1. Warped Brake Disc — A warped brake disc has the appearance of a potato chip. Each calliper piston will be pushed back against by the high points on the disc as they rotate between the brake pads. The pedal pulses as a result of being immediately affected by the pushback. The steering wheel may even jiggle due to damaged suspension bushings. Warped brake disc may result from:

· Incorrect Wheel Installation — Modern brake discs are made thinner for quicker cooling and less un-sprung weight. Consequently, discs are more likely to deform as a result of a combination of heat and insufficient lug nut torque.

· Uneven Cooling or Heating — As you drive through a big puddle on a dry day with hot disc brakes, this can happen due to uneven heating or cooling.

· Disc Contamination — This can result in rotor deformation due to corrosion, brake dust clumps, or anything else that is clamped between the hub, disc, and wheel.

2. Brake Disc Surface Variation — The transfer of friction material (from the brake pads to the disc) can be uneven if the brake pads aren’t correctly seated or are severely overheated. As a result, the disc surface becomes rougher, which is felt in the brake pedal. The disc may even have stains or dark patches from heavy deposits that are difficult to remove.

3. Brake Disc Replacement — It can be tempting to just install new brake pads when your current ones are worn out. However, new brake pads won’t grip the old disc as effectively (especially if they’re made of a different substance from the old ones) and may cause the brake pedal to pulse. New discs give the new brake pads a clean surface to thinly coat with friction compound during the bedding-in process.

4. Additional Issues That May Lead to Brake Pedal Pulsation — Other factors, such as bent hubs, worn wheel bearings, or stiff CV joints that cause the stub axle to shake, can also cause brake pedals to pulse. While each of these factors acting alone can result in a runout that is so slight that it cannot be quantified, when they act together, the runout can be felt in the brake pedal. Obviously, there are a tonne of reasons why your brake pedal can behave strangely.

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