I still remember the day that I bought my first car. I thought it was the most perfect vehicle in the world, and I vowed to care for it diligently. Unfortunately, within a few days I had forgotten about my promise, and I started tossing fast food wrappers in the back like everyone else. After awhile I realized that neglecting my car was turning the inside into a garbage pit, and I decided to learn how to take better care of my vehicle. I took a class on auto detailing, and it really helped me to turn things around. I want to teach you what I learned, so you should read this blog.
Brake line failures are rare, but they can be extremely dangerous and very scary when you're behind the wheel. When you hit the brake pedal, you create pressure that moves the brake fluid through the lines and activates the calipers, creating the braking action. When a brake line breaks, the fluid leaks out and the lack of pressure means it can't reach the calipers. Although your brake warning light will probably come on, you'll know when it happens because you'll suddenly lose the ability to stop or slow down. Here's what to do if it happens to you.
1. Pump the brakes.
Your first instinct might be to brake hard and to keep the pedal down, but this can actually be detrimental. You may get a little braking action, but you'll get more by repeatedly pumping the brake pedal instead. This is because brake systems consist of two circuits: either front/rear or diagonal (right front/left rear and left front/right rear). When a line blows, only one circuit is damaged and the other circuit still functions. Pumping the pedal can build up pressure in the lines and give you a little bit more braking action. While it won't restore full braking capability, it can give you enough response to control the car and help you stop safely.
2. Pull over.
Even if it's a small hole in the brake line and you still have some fluid left and are able to stop, don't try to make it home, to the garage or to the auto parts store. Put your four-way flashers on to signal distress and get to the side of the road. Don't rely on your residual brakes to stop the car in traffic. If you still have some braking power, you can coast to the nearest driveway or parking lot, but use extreme caution if there are pedestrians or other vehicles around. Stop at the first safe place that you can and have the vehicle towed.
3. Don't pull the "emergency" brake.
Even though losing your brakes can be an emergency, the parking brake is not designed for stopping a car in motion. Parking brakes are for keeping stopped cars from rolling, for example, when you are parked on a hill or when you are working on or under a car. They work by locking the rear wheels, which can make the vehicle spin and can also damage what's left of your brake system. The only time you should ever use the parking brake to stop a vehicle is if you are going very slowly but need to stop immediately to avoid a serious collision, such as hitting a pedestrian or slamming into a tree or building.
Any vehicle can blow a brake line, but it's more common in areas that use road salt, which corrodes steel brake lines. Brake lines should be inspected regularly, especially on older vehicles that have seen many winters. Have your auto repair shop check your lines for corrosion, crimps or leaks whenever you have your oil changed or have other mechanical work done, and replace any lines that show signs of problems to avoid this unsafe situation. Contact a business, such as Care Muffler & Brake Shop, for more information.
16 May 2016