Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My brakes go all the way down and are hard to stop

asked by on

I had new brakes put on and now the brake pedal goes all the way in and is hard to stop. Could not bleeding the brakes cause this issue. With the truck off the brake pedal is firm so I didn't think it was the master cylinder. Please help

My car has 190000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: If the hydraulic system was opened, for exa...

If the hydraulic system was opened, for example, if rebuilt calipers were installed, then yes it could very well be that the entire four wheel system needs to be carefully bled, preferably using a pressure bleeder, and also being mindful of the fact that you have ABS. Sometimes a bi-directional scan tool has to be used to remotely actuate the ABS system to "expel" trapped air in ABS valving if lots of brake fluid has drained out during service. If the brake fluid has been in your vehicle for 4 years or more, you should bleed all four wheels anyway because brake fluid loves to collect moisture from the air; this moisture both corrodes the system and ends up partly as air bubbles, if and when brake fluid reaches about 212 degrees. So, if the system was opened, or the fluid is old, yes, absolutely, it has to be thoroughly bled at ALL four wheels.

Another possibility is the calipers have not yet fully extended to create close pad rotor contact and it is also possible that you have stuck,or inadequately lubricated sliding pins in the caliper torque plate. Generally, after 75,000 miles rebuilt calipers should be installed as these parts just have too much potential for sticking and other problems as they age. Really, a brake "refurbishment" is best done with new rotors, loaded rebuilt calipers from a reputable vendor (not easy, but AC Delco, etc. are OK) and a thorough flush of the hydraulic lines with new brake fluid. With that approach, you won’t have any headaches.

If the system wasn’t opened, and the caliper piston was forced inward, without opening the caliper bleeder screw to relieve the pressure, hydraulic fluid - possibly contaminated with dirt and sludge - ends up getting forced backwards up into the master cylinder or other components like the proportioning valve. There are reports that this "could" create problems (for the master cylinder and valving) and thus the safest practice is to simply open the bleeder screw while forcing the piston back but again even that can be avoided if rebuilt calipers are used which is highly recommended after 75,000 miles.

During a mobile visit, a certified Mechanic from YourMechanic would be glad to inspect the brakes and resolve this issue for you. Please let us know how we can assist you further and if you have additional questions.

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: squealing, losing power

Hello. From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like you may have some sort of mechanical failure. A squealing sound can be caused by many things, but none really that should cause your vehicle to lose power, unless the sound...

Q: Grinding noise, ABS light comes on

Without being able to hear the noise, it will be difficult to make an accurate determination. But based on the conditions that the noise develops, it seems to occur where a rotating component is contacting a stationary component when the...

Q: Issue involving spongy brakes after multiple bleeds.

You may have rear brakes out of adjustment. I'd try to adjust them until you get a light drag on the drums. Check both front calipers to make sure the slides are free and lubed well. Then you should have...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...