While there are several reasons brakes lock up, one is a dragging caliper piston. The friction this causes heats brake fluid and increases the pressure in the brake lines, locking a single wheel. Taking the car for a short drive and then checking the wheels for one that is warmer than the rest is a quick way to check for this problem.Know More
On vehicles with anti-lock brakes, lockups are rare. However, bad pads, calipers or cylinders as well as the master cylinder all cause problems on occasion.
If all the brakes lock simultaneously, the master cylinder is likely the problem. This hydraulic cylinder converts the mechanical force of pushing the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure to move the pads against the rotors. Over time, seals in the master cylinder begin to break down, causing retention of pressure in brake lines. All the pads rub against the rotors and generate heat, increasing the pressure. In turn, the calipers force the pads against the rotors with more force, locking up the vehicle.
According to Popular Mechanics, repairing a master cylinder is the most expensive brake repair. The magazine encourages owners to pay a few dollars more to replace calipers and rotors, for the peace of mind that their brake problems are in the past for several years.Learn more about Brakes
Car brakes overheat for various reasons, including as a result of riding the brake and applying excessive force to or overusing the brakes. When brakes overheat on a regular basis, hardened spots can develop on the brake drums or the rotors. These "hot spots" resist friction, causing brake failure.Full Answer >
Rear drum brakes work in tandem with front disc brakes to help a car stop. Most cars had drum brakes on both the front and rear wheels until the 1960s when disc brakes were developed. Today, many cars still employ drum brakes in the rear wheels.Full Answer >
If the car is shuddering when the brakes are applied, the brake pads are warped and require replacement. Brake rotors are the braking surface on the wheel. When warped brake pads are compressed, they will not sit flush with the rotor which will cause the car to vibrate while the vehicle is stopping.Full Answer >
Brake pads are typically good for 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Many factors affect the number of miles brake pads last; some drivers must replace pads after just a few miles, while others use the same pads for over 100,000 miles.Full Answer >