Brake Pedals Hard to Press: Causes and Fixes
The brake pedal is a key part of a car’s braking system. The proper functioning of the braking system ensures the safety of the driver and vehicle. This is why we must ensure that there is no problem with the brake pedals before driving the car. However, if you are experiencing difficulty in pressing the brake pedal or experiencing a hard brake pedal, it’s important to take action. It is also important to determine why the brake pedal is hard to push and get it fixed to ensure your safety on the road.
Following, we will discuss the common causes of a hard brake pedal and the appropriate fixes.
Causes of Hard Brake Pedal
Brake pedals are often overlooked and assumed to be in good condition until a serious problem arises. As this is your vehicle’s most important safety feature, ignoring issues until it stops working can cause serious problems. Here is a list of what causes the brake pedal to be hard.
Low brake fluid level
A low brake fluid level can cause a hard brake pedal because essential car fluid is essential to the operation of different types of car braking systems. A brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that transmits the force of your foot on the brake pedal to the brake callipers. This in turn applies pressure to the brake pads or shoes, causing the vehicle to slow down or stop.
When the brake fluid level is low, there may not be enough fluid to create the necessary hydraulic pressure to operate the brakes effectively. This can cause the brake pedal to feel hard or stiff.
- Fixes: Check the brake fluid level if needed. If the brake fluid is consistently low, there may be a leak in the system that needs to be repaired.
The brake booster is responsible for amplifying the force applied to the brake pedal. If there is a vacuum leak in the brake booster or vacuum line, it can cause the brake pedal to feel hard. This is because the vacuum helps to reduce the amount of effort needed to engage the brakes.
- Fixes: Inspect the vacuum lines and booster for leaks. Replace or repair any damaged components as necessary.
Brake booster failure
A brake booster is a device that helps increase the force applied to the brake pedal, making it easier to stop the vehicle. The brake booster uses a vacuum or hydraulic pressure to assist in the application of the brakes. If the brake booster fails, it can cause a stiff brake pedal because the booster is no longer providing the additional force needed to help apply the brakes.
Besides, a bad brake booster can result in a loss of vacuum or hydraulic pressure, which can cause the brake pedal to feel hard or stiff. This is because the brake booster is no longer providing the additional force needed to assist in the application of the brakes. In some cases, a failed brake booster can also result in a loss of braking power, making it more difficult to stop the vehicle.
- Fixes: Keep a check on car brake maintenance to avoid any major issues. Once you find a malfunctioned brake booster replace it with a new one.
Clogged Brake Lines
Brake lines are responsible for carrying brake fluid from the master cylinder to the brake callipers or shoes. This applies pressure to the brake pads or drums to slow down or stop the vehicle. When the brake lines become clogged, it can cause a stiff brake pedal because the brake fluid is unable to flow freely through the system, reducing the hydraulic pressure needed to operate the brakes effectively.
There are several reasons why brake lines may become clogged. One common issue is corrosion or rust within the brake lines, which can cause debris or particles to accumulate and block the flow of brake fluid. Another possible cause is the contamination of the brake fluid with dirt or debris, which can cause a buildup of sludge or sediment in the brake lines.
- Fixes: Flush the brake lines to remove any debris or replace the brake lines if needed.
Malfunctioning Master Cylinder
The master cylinder is a critical component of the braking system, responsible for converting the force applied to the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure used to operate the brakes. When the master cylinder malfunctions, it can cause a hard brake pedal. This happens because it is unable to properly generate the hydraulic pressure needed to apply the brakes.
There are several reasons why a malfunctioning master cylinder can cause a hard brake pedal. One common issue is a worn or damaged piston or seal within the cylinder. This can allow brake fluid to leak past the piston, reducing the hydraulic pressure in the system and making the brake pedal feel hard or stiff.
In some cases, a failing master cylinder can also cause a brake to feel spongy or mushy brake pedal, particularly if there is air in the brake lines. This can make it more difficult to stop the vehicle, as the brakes may not respond as quickly or effectively as they should.
- Fixes: Replace the master cylinder if it’s faulty.
Frozen Brake Callipers
Brake callipers are responsible for engaging the brake pads against the rotor to slow or stop the vehicle. If they become frozen or stuck, they can prevent the brake pads from releasing properly, causing the brake pedal to feel hard.
To know if your calliper is seized, pay attention to these symptoms:
- If you hear squeaking noises when driving or if you observe constant braking.
- If your brake calliper is seized up, you will need to go to a mechanic to have it changed quickly because driving with a seized-up calliper can be dangerous.
- Fixes: Inspect the callipers and replace them if needed. Moreover, keep an eye on signs to know when you need a car brake repair.
With this, we end the list of some of the common reasons for the hard brake pedal. If you are experiencing a hard brake pedal, it’s important to address the issue promptly to ensure your safety on the road. Besides, keep checking on the braking pads because worn-out brake pads can make the brake pedal hard to push when starting the car.
Moreover, worn-out tyres may also cause a hard brake pedal when you try to apply the brake. For this, you need to check the tyre wear and break in new tyres if needed.
The cause of the problem can vary, from low brake fluid levels to malfunctioning brake components. If you are unsure of the cause and planning to buy a used car in the UAE, it’s best to have a trained mechanic inspect the brake system to determine the appropriate fix. By taking action quickly, you can prevent potential accidents and keep your vehicle operating safely.
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