Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Front brakes seizing up and over heating

asked by on

My car had all pads replaced and rotors resurfaced when I bought the car a year ago. Since I've owned the car the steering wheel would shake slightly when braking or occasionally when accelerating. About a month ago I noticed that on and off randomly the steering wheel would shake hard during highway speeds and an audible thud-thud-thud-thud-thud in coordination to the shaking and a burning smell and too-hot-to-touch rim resulted. A week or so later it did it every time at highway speeds. My mechanic resurfaced the front rotors and new pads, no more noise or shake. But three days later the front left brake was seized up with burning smell/too hot to touch and I brought it back to the mechanic who replaced the caliper on the left. That was two weeks ago and today the right brake seized up with smell/hot. I also noticed that the brake fluid was almost to min; I added fluid to the max and pumped the brakes and it did not heat up in the 10 minute drive home. Caliper? Cylinder? Fluid?

My car has 115000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. It sounds like you may have some contamination in the brake fluid or a brake master cylinder that is not releasing properly. I usually check the fluid first. I do a few tests on the fluid to see if there is any contamination such as petroleum. If there is a petroleum product contaminating the system then the internal seals will swell causing the brakes to begin to bind. If the fluid is fine then most of the time it is caused by a failing master cylinder. Typically the pistons inside of the bore get hung up keeping the brakes applied. If you want to have these dragging brakes checked, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose why the brakes are not fully releasing.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Found oil leak when changing spark plugs

Hi there. This is very common on your vehicle. This is caused by the valve cover gasket tube seals. These fail all of the time because they become brittle as the engine gets older. Once that occurs, they start to...

Q: Door chimes when locking car

Hi there. You might want to contact your local Subaru dealership for assistance with this; as we're not sure if this is possible to complete. They would be able to provide you with the right information. Thanks for writing in...

Q: Do i need new engine? 1999 Subaru Forrester

Hello - yes, quite likely you are facing engine failure and will need to replace the engine. If there is an active leak,such that it is difficult to simply add oil and keep it in the engine, running or not,...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.