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How I fix my brakes after they've locked up??

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
  • 2,430 Answers

Can be several causes. Faulty master cylinder , binding wheel cylinders, faulty brake hoses , oil on brake linings, binding brake adjusters , faulty brake booster. Best to take to a brake repair shop. Or buy a workshop manual and a full set of tools including safety stands and floor jack.

Posted on Apr 03, 2015

  • Josh Adams Apr 03, 2015

    After gathering tools and peeping with a few instructional videos and how-tos I'm going to have a look at it. The front passenger is the one that's locked. The other wheels will roll. My dad is great with his hands so Hes gonna be helping me too. Any suggestions where to start. From least complicated or inexpensive to the most

  • Stan Ford Apr 04, 2015

    Two things to check, faulty hose,check by opening bleeder screw ,if wheel free to turn faulty hose, otherwise seized caliaper pistons.,

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Rear brake grab 95 f 250 4x4.. new brakes wheel cylinders drums booster and master cylinder still locks up at low speeds any ideas???


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93 honda accord the brakes lock down as soon as it gets warm


I am interpreting your description to mean that the brakes seem to work fine once or twice, but then they fail to release after only a short amount of use. If sounds right, the most common cause for this is that one or more of your disk brake calipers is sticking, failing to release even after you let off the brake pedal. Normally, only one caliper will fail at one time, meaning that the car will pull strongly to the side where the brake has locked up. You can also test this theory by driving the car until it starts to drag. Pull over and lightly touch each of the tire rims. One or more of them should be hot--possibly burning hot--to the touch from all the heat that's been generated by the stuck brake caliper. A wheel with a properly working brake will probably feel warm to the touch--but not super-hot, unless you've just completed a motorcross course or something that gave your brakes a real workout.

You can buy rebuild kits for most brake calipers, but, in all honesty, it may cost almost the same and be better in the long run to buy a factory-rebuilt caliper, trading in your old one for its core. Factory rebuilt calipers are sandblasted and carefully cleaned and painted before the new parts are installed; quite frankly, I've never done any of that when I've rebuilt my own calipers.

It's possible that you might have frozen calipers even if both brakes on an axle (i.e., both front or both back wheels) are locking up. You might have gotten moisture into both of them by driving through a deep puddle, etc.--or you might not have noticed the problem until both calipers started acting up, holding back your car even more. I don't believe that your Accord has any kind of special one-way pressure relief valves in the brake lines, outside of what's in your master cylinder.

Another cause for your braking problem might be your master cylinder. Ordinarily, master cylinder problems show up as loss of braking--your brake pedal goes to the floor or becomes very mushy. However, it's possible that a faulty master cylinder with some internal corrosion could be failing to release pressure after it's been applied. If you've excluded the brake calipers as a cause, this would be the next place I'd check.

A final thought is to think about the age of the brake fluid in your system. If it's older than a few years--or you can't remember the last time your system was flushed--chances are that the fluid is old and has absorbed too much water to perform at its original specifications. I don't think that water in the lines would tend to lock up your brakes, but you could try flushing out your brake system by bleeding all the lines and feeding a steady supply of fresh fluid into your master cylinder. Start with the rear brakes and bleed the front brake that's closest to the master cylinder last. This won't be a quick pump the brakes a few times and look for air bubbles kind of bleed. Instead, you'll want to pull out a half cup or more of fluid at each brake, ensuring that fresh brake fluid is being pulled into the brake lines and into the brake fluid reservoirs at the calipers and at the rear drums.

May 18, 2011 | 1993 Honda Accord

2 Answers

BRAKES LOCK UP WHILE DRIVING 1989 NISSAN D21


I am interpreting your description to mean that the brakes seem to work fine for a while, but then they fail to release after a period of driving. If sounds right, the most common cause for this is that one or more of your disk brake calipers is sticking, failing to release even after you let off the brake pedal. Normally, only one caliper will fail at one time, meaning that the vehicle will pull strongly to the side where the brake has locked up. You can also test this theory by driving your Nissan until it starts to drag. Pull over and lightly touch each of the tire rims. One or more of them should be hot--possibly burning hot--to the touch from all the heat that's been generated by the stuck brake caliper. A wheel with a properly working brake will probably feel warm to the touch--but not super-hot, unless you've just completed a motorcross course or something that gave your brakes a real workout.

You can buy rebuild kits for most brake calipers, but, in all honesty, it may cost almost the same and be better in the long run to buy a factory-rebuilt caliper, trading in your old one for its core. Factory rebuilt calipers are sandblasted and carefully cleaned and painted before the new parts are installed; quite frankly, I've never done any of that when I've rebuilt my own calipers.

It's possible that you might have frozen calipers even if both brakes on an axle (i.e., both front or both back wheels) are locking up. You might have gotten moisture into both of them by driving through a deep puddle, etc.--or you might not have noticed the problem until both calipers started acting up, holding back your car even more. I don't believe that your truck has any kind of special one-way pressure relief valves in the brake lines, outside of what's in your master cylinder.

Another cause for your braking problem might be your master cylinder. Ordinarily, master cylinder problems show up as loss of braking--your brake pedal goes to the floor or becomes very mushy. However, it's possible that a faulty master cylinder with some internal corrosion could be failing to release pressure after it's been applied. If you've excluded the brake calipers as a cause, this would be the next place I'd check.

A final thought is to think about the age of the brake fluid in your system. If it's older than a few years--or you can't remember the last time your system was flushed--chances are that the fluid is old and has absorbed too much water to perform at its original specifications. I don't think that water in the lines would tend to lock up your brakes, but you could try flushing out your brake system by bleeding all the lines and feeding a steady supply of fresh fluid into your master cylinder. Start with the rear brakes and bleed the front brake that's closest to the master cylinder last. This won't be a quick pump the brakes a few times and look for air bubbles kind of bleed. Instead, you'll want to pull out a half cup or more of fluid at each brake (more at the back, to compensate for all the fluid in the extended brake lines), ensuring that fresh brake fluid is being pulled into the brake lines and into the brake fluid reservoirs at the calipers and at the rear drums.

May 18, 2011 | 1989 Nissan Hardbody King

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