Brakes grab at very slow speeds

  • 26,000 MILES
Brakes grab at very slow speeds. I have narrowed this down a little thanks to your questions. They lock up when going into a parking space or coming out of a parking lot - very slow speeds. Total lock up, a little gas does not help, only locks up again. This goes on for about 3 times. If I put it in reverse it will clear it sometimes. Yes, the FRONT BRAKES feel hot to the touch after just 6 miles of driving and I can smell them. They do not lock up, thank goodness, in traffic at faster speeds. But this is dangerous while trying to pull out into traffic. No dash idot lights go on at all. Yes, I do push on the pedal while stopping and do not allow on the engine to stop it. Each time I depress the pedal, the car does it. Hope these hints are enough to help the mechanic figure out what to do! Thanks to you all!
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have the same problem?
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 AT 1:03 AM

1 Reply

I'm a little confused. When you say total lockup at low speeds when backing out of a parking spot, how did you get there if they're locked up? Part of what you're describing sounds like they are just dragging and not fully releasing. Locked-up brakes won't get hot either because the wheels aren't turning. Dragging brakes will get real hot. That is a sign of trapped brake fluid that can't release back to the master cylinder. The two most common causes of that are a restricted rubber flex hose and brake fluid that is contaminated with a petroleum product.

I think you have already identified one way to tell the brakes are dragging. Another way is to stop on a slight incline, shift to neutral, release the brakes and see if the vehicle creeps downhill on its own. When it does not, put a block a few inches downhill of a tire, (so you don't have to go running after the truck!), Then loosen the steel lines at the master cylinder. Lets hope the brakes do not release there. If they do, the brake fluid is the problem and that will be a very expensive repair. A misadjusted brake light switch can cause that too. We'll discuss that if it comes to that. With contaminated brake fluid, the additional clue is the rubber bladder seal under the reservoir cap will be blown up and mushy.

The next thing is to open the bleeder screws on the calipers. If that lets the brakes release, suspect constricted hoses. It is not common for two to cause problems at the same time. Normally only one acts up and just that one brake gets hot.
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Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 AT 9:29 AM

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