One of the worst situations a person can find themselves in while driving is finding out that you have no No brake pedal when the car is running or it isn’t functioning. In all honesty, there’s not much you can do in that situation other than pray and try to slowly coast to the side of the road. Of course, you don’t want to be in that situation in the first place so it’s important to recognize the signs and know what to do if your brake pedal stops working.
If your brake pedal suddenly stops working, you’ll need to take some steps to get yourself and your car off the road safely. The first thing you should do is depress the clutch pedal. This will engage the transmission into gear and allow you to coast. Next, put on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road and once you’re stopped, shut off the engine. If you can’t get the car into park, leave it in gear.
Now that your car is stopped, it’s time to take a look at the problem. If it’s a mechanical issue with the brake pedal, you’ll probably need to take your car to a mechanic. If, however, it’s an electrical issue, you might be able to fix it yourself if you have a proper electrician’s knowledge. In either case, you should never try to drive the car if the brake pedal isn’t functioning. Not only is driving a vehicle without brakes extremely dangerous, but it’s also illegal in most places.
So, now that you acquainted yourself with the knowledge necessary to handle the situation, let’s get down to some of the reasons and causes behind a brake pedal not working, and eventually further down this article, we’ll even take a look at some possible fixes that you may be able to apply yourself.
Causes Why There’s No Brake Pedal When Car Is Running
There are multiple variables and reasons as to why a brake pedal might not work when a car is running. Below are some of the more common reasons:
1. Loss of the Brake Fluid
One of the most obvious reasons for a brake pedal not working is if there is a loss of brake fluid. Without brake fluid, the brake pads can’t apply pressure and create friction against the wheel disks and as a result, the car won’t stop due to the lack of hydraulic pressure.
Normally brake fluid does not require much maintenance, but if it’s not regularly checked and topped off with every service, it can very slowly be diminished especially if there is damage. In some very rare cases, a random object can also puncture or cut the brake line and lead to an immediate loss of fluid. If you ever see the brake warning light on your dashboard, it’s best to pull over and take a look at the car to see if there’s any fluid leakage.
2. Bad Brake Master Cylinder
A common issue with older vehicles is a bad brake master cylinder. When this piece malfunctions, it can’t create the necessary hydraulic pressure to activate the brakes. It works by housing the compartments necessary for converting the force applied by your foot on the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure, which is then transmitted to each brake caliper.
So, if this part isn’t working, you’ll most probably have no choice but to replace it. Normally, the pedal response should be immediate and firm but if it feels spongy or you have to pump it more than once for the brakes to engage, that’s a tell-tale sign of a bad brake master cylinder that has worn out or is damaged.
Also Read: How Do You Test A Brake Master Cylinder?
3. Bad Brake Booster
If you feel that your brake pedal is significantly harder to push down than usual, there’s a good chance that the brake booster might be bad. This part is responsible for boosting the hydraulic pressure created by the pedal and brake master cylinder system and as a result, makes it easier for you to apply the brakes.
When this piece malfunctions, it can be due to a number of reasons such as a vacuum leak, clogged filter, or even low fluid levels. The best way to determine if the brake booster is at fault is if the stopping distance has increased or if the pedal feels significantly harder to push.
4. Presence of Air in Brake Lines
This can be caused by a variety of things such as a failing brake master cylinder, worn-out seals, or even a loose-fitting connection when you got your car serviced. The best way to determine if this is the issue is to observe the brake pedal and see if it slowly sinks to the floor or if it pulsates when you step on it. Normally, this can be resolved by bleeding the brakes which will push out any air bubbles that might be trapped in the system.
5. Style of Driving
If you have a tendency to slam on the brakes, then this can quickly wear down your brake pads and disks. This is because when you do this, it causes the car to come to a sudden stop which in turn puts a lot of strain on the braking system. Another style of driving by constantly accelerating and braking can also cause the same issue.
To help prevent this from happening, try to brake smoothly and gradually instead of slamming on the pedal or having your foot consistently apply pressure. This style of driving heats up the braking system and its fluid which in turn decreases the density and can cause a loss in braking power.
6. Lack of Brake Fluid
Last but not least, a very fairly common reason why the brakes might not be working is if there is a lack of brake fluid. Without enough brake fluid, the brake pads can’t apply pressure and create friction against the wheel disks and as a result, the car won’t stop due to the lack of hydraulic pressure. Normally brake fluid does not require much maintenance, but if it’s not regularly checked, it can easily run low.
How To Fix There’s No Brake Pedal When Car Is Running
If you do end up experiencing a situation where there’s no brake pedal when the car is running, it’s best not to panic and try to remember the following things:
1. Check the Brake Fluid Level in the Can
One of the most common reasons why the brakes might not be working is because there’s not enough brake fluid. To check if this is the case, pop the hood of your car and look for the brake fluid reservoir which is normally a translucent plastic container.
The level of brake fluid inside should be between the MIN and MAX lines. If it’s below or above, you can top it up yourself by using a brake fluid funnel or have it done at a service station if you wish.
2. Check the Brake Lines for Leaks
Another common reason why the brakes might not be working is that there’s a leak in the brake lines. To check if this is the case, you’ll need to get down on your hands and knees and look for any leaks that might be happening.
Also Read: How To Tell if Brake Drums are Bad
3. Check the Brake Calipers for
If you see that the brake calipers are severely corroded, it might indicate a problem with the braking system. In some cases, this corrosion can also prevent the brake pads from properly gripping the disk which will cause the car to not stop.
4. Check the Brake Master Cylinder
For this, you’ll need to pop the hood of your car and remove the brake fluid reservoir. The brake master cylinder is a small cylindrical container that’s located on the side of the engine. Once you have it removed, take a look at it and see if there’s any evidence of leaks. If there is, then you’ll need to replace the brake master cylinder.
So, there you have it, six possible reasons why you might not have any brake pedal when the car is running. If you’re ever in this situation, don’t panic and try to remember these things. And if none of these solutions work, then it might be time to take your car in for a service. Thanks for reading!
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