Question about 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Is it safe to drive car if brakes caught fire - still has lining!

Travelling on high altitude downgrade.....2,744 ft 55- 50 mph....smelled BAD burning rubber smell.....brake pedal almost to the floor to help stop car.....felt like there were NO BRAKES....was FINALLY! able to grab and ultimately stop ...pulled to side of road.....billowy cloud of thick white gray smoke coming from tires.....jumped out of car.....saw FLAMES behind wheel....put out flames with water......waited for car to cool.....pulled both front wheels and there was still decent amount on lining left of both front pads....rotor smooth and no visible damage! Please respond as quickly as possible....have to make the drive again on Tuesday, 5/26/09! Thanks so much for your help and suggestions!!!!

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I would suggest that you adjust your rear brakes. Most likely you have drum brakes in the rear. When the rear brakes are out of adjustment (caused by not using "e-brake" when you park the car. The "e-brake" when applied keeps the rear brakes adjusted with a self adjusting mechanism.) the front brakes have to do ALL of the work to stop the car. In this case going down a steep grade for a long time simply overheated the front brakes. When the front brake pads overheat they get "glazed" and don't want to work anymore. Most likely reason for brake pedal going to the floor is the brake fluid was boiling. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Posted on May 23, 2009

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