Brake Problems: How to Repair a Brake Pedal That is Too Low

a Brake Pedal
  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-75
What You'll Need
Brake fluid
Brake pads

When your car has brake problems it is a very serious safety hazard. If you feel that you are having some brake problems you should take it very seriously. There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your brakes. You can have a sticking caliper, a leaky brake line, worn out rotors, or a "squishy", or "low" brake pedal. A low brake pedal is when you go to step on the brakes and it travels a long way before you start to feel the brakes engage. This can be caused by many different things. Here are some steps to fix this common brake problem.

Step 1 - Check Brake Fluid

There are many instances when your brake pedal will feel low, but one of the most common is simply because of low brake fluid. This can be caused by a leak in the brake line, or it can be because the fluid level is down enough where it is low in the master cylinder. Check the master cylinder and add as much as you need to bring it back to the proper levels. You may also need to bleed the lines to make sure there is no air in them.

Step 2 - Change Fluid

Another common problem is that the brake fluid could be dirty, or contaminated with dust and grime. Check out the master cylinder and see if it is a light color, or a dark color. If it is a dark, thick color you will need to change the fluid. To do this you need to remove the tires and get access to the bleeding screw on the brakes. Open them up and let the fluid drain out of the lines. Open up the master cylinder cover to push the fluid out quicker. Depress the brake pedal a few times to help with this process. Once the lines are dry you can close the screws and add new brake fluid. Bleeding the brakes is also necessary once you add the new fluid to ensure that there is no air in the lines.

Step 3 - Change Brake Pads

When the brake pedal begins to travel too far it can be because the brake pads are worn down to the metal face. If you notice that the brake fluid is still where it should be, then remove the tires and take a look at the brake pads. when they are worn you will begin to see the rivet heads on the brakes. This is an indication that the pads need to be replaced.

Step 4 - Faulty Brake Power Boost

Some vehicles, that do some towing, are equipped with a brake power boost. These mechanisms kick in to help the brakes when there is an excess load on them. When they begin to fail it will feel like you have to press the brake a long way in order to stop. Check the power boost mechanism to make sure it is working properly. If not, then replace the power boost, or remove it and recalibrate the brake system to work without it.