It’s easy to take for granted how truly dangerous it is to drive a metal machine at 65 mph, but you can quickly be reminded of that truth when you lose control of the vehicle at high speeds. Your car’s brakes locking up is one of the scariest ways that control can suddenly, unexpectedly, be snatched from you, and you’re left in a metal box barreling down the road. To prepare you for that dangerous situation, follow the below steps to know how to fix locked up brakes.
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Why Do My Car Brakes Lock Up?
There may be different causes of locked-up brakes. But mainly below two subtopics are the reason behind it
1. Brakes Issues
If you have anti-lock brakes, they should not lock up while you are driving unless there is any problem. Some of the most common issues are faulty brake pads, bad calipers on the disc brakes, or faulty cylinders on the drum brakes.
In case your vehicle faces a sudden change sharply to one side or the other when the brakes are locked, Then it’s a sign that you should take your car to a mechanic for an official diagnosis. The mechanic will start by working up your brake system. Caliper piston problems, master cylinder issues, and a variety of other problems can cause your brakes to lock when driving normally.
2. Non Anti Lock Brakes
Brakes without anti-lock capabilities will lock up whenever you apply hard and steady pressure to them. This occurs most often when slamming on the brakes. If you braked so hard that your tires made a squealing sound, there’s a high probability that your brakes will lock up.
How To Fix Locked Up Brakes?
Follow the below steps carefully whenever you face a problem and you will get to know how to fix locked up brakes.
1. Brake Lines Damaged
The best way to fix a damaged brake line, you have to get them replaced, but make sure you purchase the recommended brake line for your vehicle. In case the brake line of one wheel is bad, you should change your other wheel’s line. Because it might soon get damaged also. You will need quality brake fluid, new brake lines, some rags, and some necessary mechanics tools like a lug wrench, screwdriver, and jack stand for the replacement process.
You need to get your car raised. Check for the mesh line that passes through your piston’s housing to the metal side of your brake line. Remove the retainer clip at the hose fittings with a screwdriver. Once you have been able to remove the brake line’s fittings at its connection points, place your rag to prevent the brake fluid contained. Ensure your skin does not get in contact with the brake fluid.
If your line is attached to any other component, gently remove the connection. Now that your brake line is out use a reversal process to install your new brake line. It’s that simple.
In case you are not confident about doing this, you can always call your mechanic.
2. For Sticky Calipers
Fixing a sticky brake caliper is not a complicated process. Still, since you are dealing with a significant part of your brake system, you need to be inclined mechanically to perform this repair. To get this done, you will have to lift the side of the affected wheel using your jacks. Once you’ve done that, unbolt your brake caliper with the right socket and remove the caliper from its bracket and detach the brake pads.
Use a brake cleaner to clean your caliper to wipe off any dust, debris, or grease on its surface. Also, clean the caliper pins. Inspect your brake pads. In case you discover any damage, you should replace it. After that, lubricate the caliper pins and place them back on your brake pads. You may need some brake caliper tools to do this properly. Then place your caliper back to its bracket and tighten the caliper into position.
3. Master Cylinder Damage
If your master cylinder is discovered to be faulty, you need to replace the cylinder. Get a recommended master cylinder and install, change your old brake fluid and bleed your brakes. Check the whole of your wheels and wipe off any droplets of brake fluid. Fixing this issue can also prevent your brake locked up while parked for a long time.
What To Do When Your Brake Lock Up?
If you do not follow the steps on how to fix locked up brakes, follow the below steps carefully
1. Do Not Panic
The single most important thing to remember when experiencing brake lock-up is that not to panic.
Panicking robs you of your ability to think through the additional steps to follow.
2. Find A Place To Stop
The next item of consideration is to locate a safe place to come to a stop. Quickly scan your surroundings to determine what is at your disposal.
Parking lots, wide driveways, or even an empty shoulder make suitable locations for this purpose.
3. Carefully Exit The Roadway
Once you have determined the point at which you intend to stop, exit the roadway as carefully as possible. Though somewhat difficult to do at the moment, take into consideration all traffic that surrounds you.
In case you must merge across lanes, signal if at all possible. Remember, poor decision-making at this point can lead to a much more dire situation.
4. Come To A Stop, Set E-Brake If Necessary
After pulling from the roadway, bring your vehicle to a stop as carefully as possible. Pull your vehicle to the one side of the road, setting your emergency brake can provide a certain level of stabilization.
However, it is important to remember that setting a vehicle’s emergency brake at a high rate of speed can pose its own hazards.
5. Have the Vehicle Towed For Repair
After experiencing brake lock-up, a vehicle should not be driven under any circumstances, until proper repairs have been made. A vehicle should be towed to its intended point of repair, even if this location is only a short distance away.
Now you know how to fix locked up brakes in your car, the reason behind the bakes locking up may be a number of things, from the calipers seizing to the brake cable locking to the fluid being low. Have your car towed to a garage where it can be diagnosed and fixed before you drive it again.