Brakes quit working

  • 1 POST
  • 4WD
  • 170,000 MILES

Today we went to town and everything was fine, but then on our way home we smelled a weird smell and could not figure out what it was, our car has been pulling to one side for awhile. Then we heard a popping sound and then we came to a stop sign and was almost unable to stop. So we found my wife and daughter a ride and I drove as far as I could before finally giving up because I had no brakes at all. So I pulled over and parked it. My cousin went and picked it up for me and he drove it and the brakes worked. Now they work but not as good. What do I do? He told me they got to hot.

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have the same problem?
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 AT 8:48 PM

1 Reply

  • 29,780 POSTS

The typical thing to do is have the brakes inspected by your mechanic. It sounds like a front caliper may be sticking or a rubber flex hose is constricted and not letting the brake fluid release freely. A front brake that does not release can cause the pulling to one side and the hot smell.

If you want to diagnose this yourself, when the dragging occurs again, stop on a slight incline, shift to neutral, place a block about a foot downhill from one of the tires so you do not look funny running after the vehicle, then crawl underneath and open the bleeder screw on the caliper of the wheel that is getting hot. Based on whether that lets the brake release will tell us where to go next to narrow down the cause of the problem.

If you leave this up to your mechanic, he will appreciate any hints or clues you can give him to help find the cause faster. In particular, does the brake pedal feel higher and harder than normal when the dragging occurs, or does it feel normal? Does the dragging occur as soon as you start driving, or not until you've been driving for perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes? Is there any chance a petroleum product got mixed in with the brake fluid? That includes engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, or penetrating oil.

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Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 AT 9:50 PM

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