Why are my Brakes Sticking

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Brakes are a life saving device on your vehicle, so when they start to fail, it can be a scary experience. If you notice your brakes sticking, or if the pedal feels “soft” or spongy when you press it, you should have them checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

There are many potential causes of brake problems, but one of the most common is air in the brake lines. When there is air in the lines, it prevents the brakes from working properly. The air can get into the lines through a leak in the system, or if the brakes are serviced and not bled correctly.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the other potential causes of brake problems and relevant information. 

What Does It Mean if My Brakes Are Sticking?

Wingbrake Driver Training Brake Student Driver Instructor Passenger Teen Driving Lesson

If you notice that your brakes are sticking, it means that the brake pads are not able to release fully from the rotors. The brakes work by pressing the pads against the rotors, which creates friction that slows down the wheels. If the pads are not releasing fully, it can cause the brakes to feel “soft” or spongy when you press the pedal, and it can also cause the brakes to make noise or squeal when you use them.

This is a sign that the hydraulics in the system are not working correctly, and it is a serious issue that should be addressed as soon as possible.

6 Common Causes of Brake Sticking

Wingbrake Driver Training Brake Student Driver Instructor Passenger Teen Driving Lesson

The following are six common causes of brake sticking:

1. Rusty Caliper Pistons & Piston Boot

You will often find that the caliper piston and boot are rusty. This is not a good sign, as it means that the caliper assembly is not protected from the elements, which can cause stuck brakes. The boot is there to keep dirt and water out of the caliper, so if it is damaged or missing, it can allow those things to get in and cause problems.

Also Read: How much does it Cost to Replace a Piston

2. Rusty & Stuck Brake pads

Also, the brake pads may be rusty and stuck to the rotors. This can happen if the vehicle is left outside in the elements for too long, or if the brakes are not serviced regularly. If the pads are stuck to the rotors, they will not be able to release fully, which can cause sticking brakes.

Also Read: Brake Pedal goes to Floor when Engine Running

3. Dirty Caliper Guide Pin

The caliper guide pin can also become dirty, which can cause the caliper to stick. The guide pin is what allows the caliper to move back and forth, so if it is dirty or damaged, it can cause the caliper to jam.

4. Parking Brake Steel Cables

Parking brake steel cables can also cause sticking brakes. The cables can rust and seize up, which can prevent the parking brake from releasing fully. The friction from the cables in it’s assembly can also cause the caliper to stick.

5. Broken brake hose

A broken brake hose can also cause sticking brakes. The hose can rupture and leak fluid, which can cause the caliper to stick. Without enough fluid in the system, the brakes will not work properly.

6. Dirty or Old Brake Fluid

Last but not least, the brake fluid can become dirty or old, which can also cause sticking brakes. The fluid can absorb moisture over time, which can cause it to become contaminated. When the fluid is contaminated, it can cause the caliper to stick as well.

Also Read: Can You Mix Dot 3 and Dot 4 Brake Fluid

What Happens if You Keep Driving with Sticky Brakes?

If you keep driving with sticky brakes, you may encounter the following problems:

Your Brake Pads Will Have Extra Wear

When continuing to use brakes that are sticking, you will find that the brake pads will have extra wear. This is due to the fact that the pads are not able to release fully from the rotors, which causes them to rub against the rotors more than they should. This can cause excessive wear on the pads and can also damage the rotors.

It Can Wear Out Your Transmission

It can also wear out your transmission. The transmission is responsible for transferring the power from the engine to the wheels. When the brakes are sticking, it can cause the transmission to work harder than it should, which can lead to premature wear and tear due excessive stress and resistance. 

Your Bearings Can Overheat

The bearings in your vehicle can also overheat. The bearings are what allow the wheels to rotate smoothly. When the brakes are sticking, it can cause the bearings to work harder than they should, which can cause them to overheat and fail.

Your Brakes Won’t Work as Well 

Most obviously, your brakes won’t work as well when they are sticking. The whole purpose of the brakes is to slow down or stop the vehicle, so if they are not working properly, it can be extremely dangerous.

How to avoid a Sticking Brake Caliper

Put simply, the best way to avoid a sticking brake caliper is to maintain your brakes and keep them clean. By doing this, you will prevent rust and dirt from building up and causing problems. You should also make sure to service your brakes regularly, as this will help to keep them in good working condition.


So, there you have it – some of the main reasons why your brakes may be sticking, and what can happen if you continue to drive with sticky brakes. Remember, it is always best to service your brakes regularly and to keep them clean to avoid these problems.

If you do find that your brakes are sticking, make sure to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic or brake specialist as soon as possible so they can fix the problem before it becomes dangerous.

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