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What's Wrong With My Brakes?

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Troubleshooting Brake Problems - Brake Pedal Too Low
Toyota Recalls 2010 Prius In U.S. and Japan For Brake Problems
Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images
Your brakes are probably the most important part of your car. Without an intake system, you'll just sit there. But at least you won't hit a tree while you're just sitting there! Seriously, brakes aren't something to play around with. If your car is having a braking problem, whether it's weak brakes, a mushy pedal, grinding sounds - whatever your brake problem is, you need to troubleshoot and repair it as soon as possible. We'll help you diagnose your braking problem so you know what repairs to make.

Brake Pedal Goes Too Far Down to Stop. If you step on the brake pedal and it feels like it's going too far down before you start to slow, you might have the following problems:

 

  • Low Brake Fluid Level: Check your brake fluid. If it's low, top it off to the mark on the side of the reservoir.
  • Contaminated Brake Fluid: Even though your brakes operate in a closed system, contaminants can still work there way into the works. Air can enter the system through the smallest hole, and you can end up with water in the system from condensation and other means. There's not really any way to check for this, but bleeding your brakes will remove the bad stuff and replace it with new fluid.
  • Worn Brake Pads: Your brakes should never wear low enough to cause your brake pedal to feel low, they'll scream at you before then. But if they do get very low, you might have this problem. Replace your brake pads as soon as possible. Of course, this can be avoided with regular brake inspection.
  • Bad Brake Power Boost Unit: Finally, if your brake booster goes bad you'll have low brake pedal issues. Most brake boosters are vacuum controlled, so a special vacuum measurement device that connects to the brake booster is needed to check it. If it's bad, you'll have to replace the boost unit.
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  6. Troubleshooting a Low or Sinking Brake Pedal

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