Brake Problems

Bendix can help you diagnose and solve your brake problems.

To help you fix brake problems you may be experiencing, we have prepared some helpful tech tips to ensure you achieve optimum braking performance and safety.


Please use the list below to find what best describes your brake problem.

Low/Spongy Brake Pedal


Pedal nearly touches floorboard before brakes function. No brake reserve.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
No fluid in master cylinder.Check system for fluid leak and repair.
Excessive free play in brake pedal linkage.Adjust for proper linkage.
Pad "knock-back".Examine rotor run out and parallelism, bearing adjustment, etc.
Excessive clearance between linings and drums.Adjust brakes.
Contaminated fluid.Replace with approved brake fluid.
Residual line pressure valve faulty.Check/replace.
Air in hydraulic system.Bleed brake system.

What do you mean by low/spongy brake pedal

When I brake, my brake pedal goes almost to the floor. When I brake, the brake feels like I have no reserve left. My brake pedal has a spongy feel to it – the firmness in my brake pedal is gone. These are all symptoms of a spongy or low brake pedal.

How does low/spongy brake pedal happen?

Insufficient brake fluid in the master cylinder may cause spongy or low brake pedal. The brake lines may have contaminants like air in them, not having been bled properly at your last service or possibly the brakes may not be adjusted properly.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring

Always ensure that a qualified and experienced brake fitter services your brakes. Spongy or low brake pedal is generally not an indication of brake wear but more likely a fault in fitting. If you service your own brakes make sure that you fill the master cylinder to the appropriate level and that you bleed the brake lines before use.

High Pedal Force


Excessive stopping distance, excessive pedal effort, brakes do not react properly.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Worn/glazed pads or linings.Replace with new pads or linings.
Frozen calipers or wheel cylinders.Free up and replace if necessary.
Brake booster failure.Inspect booster Assy. Repair as required.

What is high pedal force?

Your brakes require an excessive amount of force to work, the brakes do not operate properly and the vehicle requires an excessive distance to pull up or stop.

What causes high pedal force to occur?

Brakes when subjected to undue heat stress may glaze and become inefficient. Brake pads may simply be worn out. Calipers or wheel cylinders may have become clogged and need cleaning or replacing. The brake booster could be faulty and need repairs or servicing.

What can I do to prevent this?

Brake wear is inevitable but using your brakes carefully, not overusing them or avoiding excessive braking will preserve your brakes. Regular services and use of quality brake pads, brake fluid, brake cleaner and lubricant will certainly extend and preserve your brakes.

Brake Drag


Sticking brakes may be failing to release properly.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Brakes adjusted too tight.Readjust and allow sufficient clearance between lining and drum.
Master cylinder by-pass port blocked.Clear blockage.
Weak pedal return spring.Install new springs.
Distorted backing plates.Replace with new plates.
Sticky wheel cylinder.Repair with new cups.

What is brake drag?

Brake drag is when the braking system fails to disengage properly causing the vehicle to feel sluggish and unresponsive.

How does brake drag happen?

There are many factors that can cause brake drag, the brakes may be adjusted too tightly, the master cylinder by-pass port may have become blocked by contaminants. The pedal return springs may be worn and need replacing, backing plates may have become distorted from excessive force and overheating. The wheel cylinder may have become sticky and need repairing.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring?

Ensure that the brakes are adjusted properly and are not too tight. Regular serving and cleaning will prevent brakes from deteriorating, cleaning the brakes with a quality cleaner and using a brake lubricant will also extend the life of brakes.

Brake Pull


Car pulls to one side when brakes are applied.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Contamination of pads or linings with brake fluid, oil, grease, etc.Clean or replace pads or linings.
Unmatched pads or linings.Replace with correct parts.
Faulty caliper pad alignment.Check for loose caliper mounting bolts, guide pins, broken clips.
Unequal brake adjustment.Readjust all brakes.
Seized Calliper.Overhaul both calipers (ie. pin and seal kits) on that axle.

What is brake pull?

Brake pull is evident when the brakes are applied and the car has a tendency to “pull” to one side.

What causes brake pull?

Brake pull is basically uneven brake force caused by brakes not exerting the same amount of force from one side of the car to the other, this can be caused by many factors; Contaminated pads and linings, mismatched brake materials such as pads or brake linings. A faulty caliper pad alignment or uneven adjusting of pads or even a seized caliper may be at fault.

Is there any way of preventing this from occurring?

Keeping your brakes clean and serviced can prevent brake pull as well as making sure that you are fitting the appropriate pad or lining. Checking that your brake system is properly and evenly adjusted will ensure smoother acting brakes.

Brake Grab


"Touchy" brakes that grab with least pressure.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Contamination of pads or linings with brake fluid, oil, grease, etc.Clean or replace pads or linings.
Caliper not aligned with disc.Correct alignment.
Mounting bolts loose.Tighten to specified torque.
Brake lines, hoses kinked, collapsed or clogged.Repair or replace.
Caliper pistons or slides seized.Free up and replace if damaged.

What is brake grab?

Brake grab is a condition where the braking system has become touchy or overly sensitive, as soon as you touch the brakes they react in a far stronger way than they should normally.

How does brake grab happen?

Contamination of brakes with brake dust, grease or fluids, misalignment of brake calipers, loose brake mounting blots or seized caliper pistons and slides may cause the fault. It is also worth checking that your brake lines and hoses are not collapsed, clogged, kinked or pinched, this build up of pressure can cause the brakes to apply sudden and undue brake force.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring?

Correct fitting of brake parts and periodic maintenance will ensure that your brakes function as expected. Be sure to fit the right pads, correctly, firmly to the calipers as well as linking to their assemblies. Check that brakes are not contaminated, lines and hoses are free of obstruction. Always use a high quality brake cleaner, lubricant, brake fluid. You should also always specify quality brake pads and linings.

Brake Noise


Brakes should operate with minimal amount of noise. Excessive squeal, screech, groaning, grinding chatter or rattle means your brakes need attention.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Too much lateral run out of rotor.Correct runout to manufacturers spec.
Worn pads or linings.Replace with new pads or linings.
Twisted brake shoe.Replace brake shoes.
Weak or broken spring components.Replace with new springs.
Drums out of round.Turn or replace drums.
Loose wheel bearing.Adjust or replace faulty parts.
Foreign particles embedded in material.Replace with new pads or linings.
Faulty caliper alignment.Readjust.

What is brake noise?

Brake noise is often a sign of brake problems, squealing, screeching brake pads, groaning or rattling brakes are an indication that your brakes need attention.

How does brake noise happen?

There are many faults that can cause brakes to become noisy; damage to the brake pads or lining, damage to the brake drum and damage to the springs can all produce brake noise. Too much lateral run out and faulty caliper alignment may also contribute to excessive brake noise.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring?

You should take your vehicle to a brake specialist as soon as you hear any undue noise from your brake system, at the very least your brakes will need adjustment. Some brake noise comes from part damage, wear, contamination and incorrect installation can all be factors with this problem. Noise that seems to come from the braking system may also indicate that the wheel bearings are loose, also something that should be investigated immediately.

Bendix has designed a revolutionary brake pad technology that makes brake pads whisper quiet, STEALTH Advanced Technology is available for a wide range of vehicles both on and off road.



Brake pedal, steering wheel or entire wheel shakes, vibrates or pulsates when brake is applied.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Rotor run out and parallelism.Resurface disc brake rotors.
Wear in steering and suspension components.Examine and replace worn components.
Wheels out of balance.Wheel balance required.

What is brake vibration?

Brake vibration is a noticeable vibration when the brakes are applied, there can also be other vibration that has a similar feel and effect from wear in other running gear components.

How does vibration happen?

Both rotor run out and parallelism can cause vibration under braking, this can be easily fixed by resurfacing the brake rotors. Other components can cause vibration, generally these faults happen in the running gear such as wear and faults in the steering components which can be rectified by replacing worn components. Wheels out of balance and alignment can also be the cause a simple wheel balance will alleviate the problem.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring?

Ensuring that brake pads are fitted properly and that all components are fitted to specifications will keep the rotors from suffering undue and uneven wear. Regular servicing will identify problems and often stop these problems before they become apparent.

Brake Wear


Premature wear can be caused by a number of faults in the brake system. To avoid costly repairs have the brakes checked at least once a year.

Probable Cause:Corrective Action:
Wrong type of pad or lining material for operating conditions.Replace with correct pad or lining material for application.
Caliper pistons and/or pins seized.Fit pin and seal kits.
Extremely rough rotor surface.Regrind rotors.

What is brake wear?

Abnormal brake wear is when the brake pad or lining wears at an abnormal and accelerated pace. Brake pads and linings will wear at a normal predictable rate if fitted properly but under certain conditions this wear can be extreme.

How does brake wear happen?

Abnormal brake wear occurs when the wrong type of pad or lining is fitted or the rotor surface is rough, it may also occur when the caliper pistons or pins seize up.

Is there any way of preventing this from reoccurring?

Choice of pads and linings is crucial to the stopping performance of a vehicle, choosing the right pad is as important for its durability as it is to safety. Regular maintenance of your vehicle’s braking system is essential for its integrity and longevity.

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