Brakes are a crucial component of a vehicle that allows the driver to slow the speed and stop the car whenever required. Brake drag, also known as dragging brakes, is one of the most common problems associated with the brakes.
What is Brake Drag?
Brake drag refers to a problem with the braking system where the brake pads fail to disengage properly even when the brake pedal is released. In dragging brakes, the brakes remain applied partially even when no pressure is put on the brake pedal.
Brake Drag Causes
There may be many reasons behind brake drag. Here are the most common brake drag causes.
1. The Master Cylinder
One of the most common brake drag causes is that the brake pedal is too tightly adjusted, resulting in blockage of the master cylinder vent port. This blockage causes excessive pressure build-up on the braking system, resulting in brake drag.
There needs to be a slight gap between the master cylinder and push rod for the brakes to function optimally. A corroded or worn out master cylinder may require excessive pedal effort to apply the brakes, resulting in dragging brakes.
2. Pedal Return Springs
Worn out or broken pedal return springs are also one of the brake drag causes. As the pedal return springs become rusty or wear out completely, the drum brake systems cause brake dragging.
3. Excessive Brake Fluid in the Master Cylinder
The displacement property of the brake fluid helps the brake function. When brakes are applied, the pistons push fluid out of the master cylinder. When the brakes are released, the pistons get pulled back, allowing the fluid to re-enter the master cylinder. For this system to function correctly there needs to be sufficient empty space in the master cylinder. However, excessive brake fluid blocks this space, which is insufficient for the brakes to release. As the brake fluid heats up when driving, it expands, resulting in less free space in the master cylinder.
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Some of the other brake drag causes include:
- Brake hose restrictions
- Overheating of the brake fluid
- Corroded or jammed calliper piston
- Corroded bushings or pins of the calliper piston
- Frozen brake cables
- Distorted backing plates
- Sticky wheel cylinder
- Clogged master cylinder by-pass port by contaminants
Corrective Actions to Treat Brake Drag and Prevent Re-occurrence
- Regular servicing and cleaning of the brakes
- Using a brake lubricant
- Cleaning the brakes with a quality cleaner
- Readjusting the brakes to ensure they are not too tight
- Installing new pedal return springs
- Clearing the blockage in the master cylinder
- Replacing the distorted backing plates with new ones
Brake Drag Symptoms
- Difficulty in steering
- Brake pedal remains depressed
- Sluggish feeling while driving
- Vehicle becomes highly unresponsive
- Car pulling to one side of the road
- Car moves ahead as if it does not have any power
If you notice any brake drag symptoms, you need to get it inspected and repaired immediately from Urban Lube.
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