Why Is My Brake Pedal Hard? If you’ve ever been driving your car and noticed that the brake pedal felt harder than usual, this is likely due to one of four reasons: air in the brake lines, a bad master cylinder, brake fluid contamination or heat, or low brake fluid.
Why Is My Brake Pedal Hard?
If your brake pedal feels hard to push, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. It could be a problem with the brakes themselves, or it could be something more serious. If you take your car in for service and have the mechanic check out your brake pedal, they may find that all is well with them—in which case you’ll know for sure that you’re dealing with an issue elsewhere. They may also discover that the problem is due to something far more serious than the simple wear and tear of normal driving.
If this happens, don’t panic: just get back in touch with us here at [name of company] so we can help!
What Causes a Hard Brake Pedal?
There are a number of reasons why your brake pedal may feel hard. They generally fall into one of two categories: mechanical or hydraulic.
- Mechanical issues with the pedal itself would be caused by something interfering with its operation, such as air in the brake lines, which can make it feel mushy and soft.
- Hydraulic problems arise when there is either too much or too little pressure in the master cylinder (the reservoir on top of your brake pedal). This can cause different kinds of problems depending on what is happening inside that reservoir.
In some cases, these two types work together to create an unpleasant driving experience for you—and potentially others around you!
Air in the brake lines
Air in the brake lines. Air is always a problem with brake pedal feel. When you press on the brake pedal, air is pushed out of your brakes and into your brake lines. If there’s enough air in there to make space for it, this can cause a soft or spongy feeling when you apply pressure to the brake pedal.
It also means that less force is going into stopping your car because not as much pressure is being applied to the disc pads themselves. If there’s enough air in there and not enough room for it as well as fluid, then this can also cause excessive heat buildup within the calipers.
Out of calibration
- Brake pedal out of calibration
To calibrate the brake pedal, follow these steps:
- Drive the vehicle at a safe speed on a level surface for about five minutes to warm up the brakes.
- Apply the parking brake and make sure that it holds the vehicle in place without difficulty.
- Turn off any electrical devices or accessories inside the vehicle (such as an air conditioner or stereo system) that draw additional current from your car battery’s electrical system or alternator.*
- Place one hand firmly on top of another hand placed palm down on top of each other on top of your steering wheel so that both hands are about one inch apart from each other in parallel with your chest line and leave them there until instructed otherwise.*
- While keeping your feet on both pedals but not pushing either pedal down past halfway, pay attention to how much pressure it takes for you to begin engaging them (this should be less than 1/8th inch). Once engaged just keep their position steady while making no further adjustments until instructed otherwise; note this down as “reference readings”.
The master cylinder is bad
If you’re having trouble with your brakes, it’s possible that the master cylinder is bad. The master cylinder is the main brake cylinder and connects the brake pedal to the brake lines. It provides the pressure for your brakes, so if this part is faulty, there’s no way for you to stop on a dime.
The good news is that this part can be replaced or rebuilt (depending on how much money you want to spend). But first let’s talk about what exactly a master cylinder does:
- The master cylinder serves as an intermediary between your foot and your car’s braking system. When you press down on it, pressure gets sent through hoses and tubes throughout your vehicle until they reach each wheel—and then provides them with enough power to stop those wheels from spinning at high speeds.
- Without proper pressure coming out of it at all times—whether due to age or wear-and-tear—you won’t be able to stop at all times either! It’s important that you look into replacing this part immediately if yours ever goes bad because without working brakes… well…
Low brake fluid
The liquid used for your braking system is called brake fluid, and it’s non-compressible. This means that it will fill any empty space in its container, regardless of how much pressure is applied from outside the container. If the level gets too low, there won’t be enough fluid to push your shoes against the drum and make them stop turning when you apply pressure to your foot pedal—and thus you’ll have no braking power!
Brake pedal stroke is too long
The brake pedal stroke is too long. The brake pedal is the part of your car that you push down on to stop it when you need to. If the brake pedal has too much travel or feels like it takes a really long time for the brakes to engage, this may be because of a problem with your brake system. You should have this inspected by a mechanic immediately because if left unchecked, it can lead to other issues with your vehicle’s braking system and even an accident!
There are other causes of having longer or shorter braking distances than normal as well:
Air in brake fluid
If you find that your brake pedal is hard, it’s possible that air is getting into the brake fluid. To determine whether this is the case, you can test by bleeding your brakes:
- Remove the bleeder screw on each wheel and then pump the brake pedal until a steady stream of fluid comes out of it
- If no bubbles appear in this stream of fluid, then there is no air in your system; however, if bubbles are present, continue to step 3
Leaking calipers or wheel cylinders
- Check for leaks: With the engine running, check for fluid leaks around the wheels and brake lines. If you see any, it may mean that there is a problem with your calipers or wheel cylinders.
- Check for loose or broken bleeder screws: Bleeder screws are small bolts that allow air to enter a brake system when bleeding it of pressure before adding new fluid to ensure an even distribution throughout the system. If these screws are loose or broken, air could get into your brake system and cause problems like pedal hardness.
- Check for stuck pistons in calipers: Caliper pistons push pads against rotors when you press down on your brakes. If these pistons don’t move smoothly because they’re worn out or damaged in someway (for example by rusting), then they won’t be able to apply enough force against the rotor – and therefore you’ll have difficulty applying pressure onto them through your pedal!
Stuck calipers or wheel cylinders
A caliper is a component that holds the brake pads in place. The wheel cylinder attaches to the piston and pushes out on it to apply pressure to the brakes.
Sticking calipers or wheel cylinders are usually caused by dirt buildup on either part. This can make them stick together, preventing them from fully retracting into their housing when you step on your brake pedal. If this happens, you will feel excessive resistance at your foot when trying to press down on it during braking situations, which means less safety for you as well as others around you! To fix this issue:
- Clean off any corrosion or other debris with sandpaper (never use steel wool). * Check for signs of leaks in any areas where rubber lines are present; if any exist, replace those immediately because they could mean more serious problems with other components like master cylinders or ABS units which could lead into much higher costs if not caught early enough! * Pull out each individual pad so there’s no residual drag from them remaining against their respective faces during operation; then put all six back together again after making sure everything fits snugly between two surfaces before putting things back where they belong–in proper alignment all around–to ensure proper functioning later on down road once again.”
Master cylinder problems
Your master cylinder is the heart of your braking system. Because it’s responsible for pushing fluid through your brake lines, any problem with this part will make it difficult to stop your vehicle. A damaged master cylinder, for example, may not allow enough fluid to pass through and can cause a soft pedal.
A leaking master cylinder will not only cause you to lose pressure in the system (and therefore decreased braking power), but it could also lead to leaks on other parts of the car that need regular maintenance like tires or ball joints. And if there’s no fluid in your lines at all, you won’t be able to use them at all—the pedal will stay up even when depressed because there would be no way for air pressure from outside sources to push back against it!
You may also experience problems if your brakes aren’t calibrated properly: if they’re set too high or low relative to one another they’ll vibrate while being applied which makes them hard or impossible to press down fully without proper adjustment.”
A brake pedal should not be hard to push, so if yours is hard to push, you know there is a problem
The brake pedal should be firm, but not hard. If it is too hard to push, then you know that there is a problem and you should get your car checked out. The shape of the brake pedal can vary depending on the type of car you drive. If it feels too soft, then there may be something wrong with the master cylinder or calipers that need to be looked at by a mechanic or auto shop technician.
We’ve laid out some of the most common causes of a stiff brake pedal. Keep in mind that it might be caused by several of these issues at once. Also, remember that different cars will have different issues and set-ups, so your car may require a slightly different method for troubleshooting your brakes. If you think you’re having a serious brake problem, please seek professional advice immediately!