Reasons Why Brake Pedal Goes Down Further Than Normal

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Reasons Why Brake Pedal Goes Down Further Than Normal

When the brake pedal is press and you notice that it goes down further than normal and the car seems longer to stop when applying the brake, there are two possible reasons that causing this kind of problem. It's either the car has low brake fluid or the brake shoe is worn out.

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Two reasons why brake pedal goes down further than normal
(1) Low brake fluid
(2) Worn out brake lining

How to determine why brake pedal goes down further than normal?

The first thing to do is to check the level of brake fluid. Open the hood of your car. There is a hood release hatch inside the vehicle usually, it is located just below the steering wheel or the steering column. The release hatch contains an illustration of a car with the hood opened as shown in the picture. Pull the hatch to release the hood from locking.

The function of brake fluid 

The brake fluid is used to impart the dynamic force in the hydraulic brake system on the vehicle. In the course of use, the level of brake fluid in brake fluid reservoir may lower slightly owing to the wear of friction plate. If this happens, it is necessary to add a small amount of brake fluid up to the level of brake fluid. If the stroke of brake pedal becomes longer unexpectedly or the level of brake fluid lowers obviously, check the level of brake fluid. If the level of brake fluid is below -MIN-, don't drive the car.

If the level lowers obviously within a short time, it means that maybe the brake system leaks. In such a case, immediately stop the car rather than continue to drive the car, and get the brake system inspected and repaired by a mechanic or tow the car to the nearest car repair shop.
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Hood Release Hatch
Now locate the hood latch lever usually, it is located underneath the hood just above the grille. Peek through the grill to find the lever if you cannot find the lever look at your car owner’s manual for the location of the lever. Once you found the lever lift the lever a few inches to release the hood lock then lift the hood. see how to open your car hood.
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Hood Latch Release Lever
 Look at the engine compartment and locate the brake fluid reservoir. Usually, the brake reservoir is located at the top of the brake master cylinder.

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Brake Fluid Reservoir
Brake fluid level

Check the level of the brake fluid, there is MAX and MIN indicator on the reservoir, the brake fluid level must be in between the MAX and MIN. If the brake fluid is below MIN the brake fluid is not enough or too low which is the reason why the brake pedal travel further than usual before it will stop, the lower the brake fluid the lower the pedal will travel.

If the level lowers obviously within a short time, it means that maybe the brake system leaks. In such a case, immediately stop the car rather than continue to drive the car, and get the brake system inspected and repaired by a mechanic or tow the car to the nearest car repair shop.

Tip: If the fluid level is extremely low, you must check the brake system for any leak. Brake fluid will not become extremely low without any leak. Cars have Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) for low brake fluid if the low brake fluid level indicator goes on when the vehicle is running, it means that the brake fluid is low or the brake system is in fault.
Low Brake Fluid
Brake Fluid Level
If the brake fluid is between MIN and Max level it means that the brake fluid is enough. Look at the next reason for the brake pedal to goes down further than normal when braking.

The next reason is a worn brake lining. When the brake lining is worn out the pedal will travel further than normal. Usually, it is the rear brake that is the reason why the pedal goes further than normal during braking. The rear brake is usually a drum type. Because the front brake is usually a disc brake and not like the drum brake, the disc brake have audible reminders wherein there is a warning when the brake pads needs to be replace. The pads produce high pitched sound when the car is running even when the brake pedal is not depressed.

In a drum brake, frictional materials are provided in the drum, which rotates with a tire, to stop the rotation of the drum by pushing the frictional materials strongly from the inside against the drum. This brake is unsuitable for the kind of driving where the brake is applied frequently while a vehicle is running at high speed.
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Rear Brake Drum Assembly Image Credit

Here’s what you do?

(1) If the cause is low brake fluid
Just add enough brake fluid on the reservoir.  Use DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid, usually, there is a label on the top of the reservoir cap on what type of brake fluid to be used. see (Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid Direct Replacement for DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1 )

When replacing or refilling brake fluid always use the same type of fluid as indicated on the reservoir cap, using the wrong type or mixing one type from another can cause brake malfunction during high-temperature operation or hard braking. Also, consider checking the brake system for any leak because how did the brake fluid level become low if there is no leak on the system.

Precautionary measures when replacing brake fluid
Brake fluid is corrosive, please keep container sealed and place it on a location not accessible to children. Prevent your skin or eyes from to get ting contact with the brake fluid. If the brake fluid is touched unexpectedly, immediately wash your skin or eyes with a lot of fresh water, and if necessary take medical treatment immediately. Avoid pouring the brake fluid to the engine because it can cause a fire. Also, do not pour brake fluid to the painted area of the car it can cause damage to the paint if it cannot be avoided just pour in fresh water to the surface where the brake fluid poured. Do not wipe the surface it will damage the paint.

How often do you need to change the brake fluid?
You need to change the brake fluid every 40,000 km or 24 months whichever comes first but, under severe condition like high humidity or mountainous area, replace every 20,000 km or 12 months whichever comes first. Failure to replace the brake fluid in time as required may lead to malfunction of the brake system and thus cause a serious accident. Inspect the level of brake fluid at the time interval as specified in the Information Form for Maintenance indicated on the car owners manual.

(2) If the cause is a worn brake lining
Just replace the brake lining. If you do not know how to do it, bring the car to repair shop that specialized in brake repair and let the mechanic do the job for you, but of course, you have to pay some cash.

When talking to the mechanic tell the mechanic to also check the drum because more often than not, the drum is needed to be machined before replacing the brake shoe with a new one.

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