How to Diagnose a Hard Brake Pedal

Written by ehow cars editor
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Sometimes you may find that the brake pedal is acting a little strange and feels "hard." This is something that should be examined as it would not be safe to drive in a vehicle with faulty brakes. Here we will detail two possible causes for a hard brake pedal and the possible solution. If this is not the answer, then consult with a trained mechanic.

Skill level:


    Brake Power Booster

  1. 1

    Check the brake power booster by pumping on the brake pedal while the car isn't running. Continue pumping until you've "bled off" the vacuum from the booster.

  2. 2

    Hold the pedal down while you start the car. The pedal should go down a bit more beneath your foot. If it doesn't, then you should examine the connection between the vacuum hose of the brake power and the engine's vacuum.

  3. 3

    Replace the brake power booster if the connection's fine, which would fix the hard brake pedal problem.


  1. 1

    Check the components of the caliper for any wear.

  2. 2

    Look at the metal spring where the brake pads sit.

  3. 3

    Apply tension to the pad and see whether you hear a pop. If you do, the brake pad is moving too much on the bracket. Replace the caliper. This could help the hard brake pedal.

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