Niagara Gazette

Features

September 5, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Tackling the typical braking system problems

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Brake fade

In this condition, when you apply the brake (try as you might, pressing down very hard on the pedal) you cannot stop the vehicle. The other sign of brake fade is when you are sitting at a stop light waiting to merge into traffic, and even with steady downward pressure on the brake pedal, it travels to the floorboard. What is happening? The master cylinder is leaking brake fluid internally.

Brake squeal

If your brakes “squeal like a pig” when you press the pedal, it could be an indication of glazed brakes, a condition where the brake friction material gets hot and forms a smooth, hardened surface. The other cause for this condition could be worn out brake pads that are scratching the rotor face, making the squealing sound. If you catch the problem at this point, you will save a lot of money in rotor replacement.

Sudden loss of brakes altogether

When you lose brakes completely it’s usually due to a major hydraulic leak. Either a line has blown, releasing the brake fluid, or a component in the system has a major leak. Should you experience this, park the vehicle safely and call a tow truck. The vehicle is not safe to drive.

ABS brakes operate on dry pavement

This is a condition where the culprit is either a bad wheel speed sensor or the hydraulic control unit has gone bad. The system “thinks” that a wheel is locked up so ABS kicks in to correct what it falsely “sees.” In this case, the system’s braking control module must be accessed via a hand held diagnostic scan tool. If there’s a problem with a speed sensor or the braking computer it will show up in the diagnostics.

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin’

“America’s Car Show” with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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