How to fix car brakes that are stuck

Written by tom becker
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How to fix car brakes that are stuck
Car brakes that are stuck and can sometimes be fixed in a few simple steps. (Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from Fotolia.com)

Automotive brakes are crucial for the proper functioning of your car. Brakes can become stuck for a number of different reasons, and mechanic bills for brake maintenance can be expensive. A few quick checks of your braking system can help prevent a trip to the mechanic.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Hammer
  • Automotive jack
  • Tire iron

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Check the cable that attaches the brake pedal to the braking system; it can be accessed on the underside of the car just beneath the brake pedal. Look for anything jamming or blocking the cable line.

  2. 2

    Grip the brake cable by the housing and pull it firmly to the side. This action is sometimes enough to free the cable.

  3. 3

    Check the emergency-brake cable. This cable runs from a handbrake between the front seats or from a foot pedal to the brake underneath the car.

  4. 4

    Grip the emergency brake cable by the housing and pull it firmly to the side. This is sometimes enough to free the emergency brake cable.

  5. 5

    Check the front driver's-side brake drum. Lift the front driver's-side tire off the ground using an automotive jack; remove a the tire with a tire iron to access the brake drum.

  6. 6

    Check the brake drum for movement. If it will not move, strike the brake with a hammer. This will sometimes unstick the brakes.

  7. 7

    Replace the tire and lower the car to the ground.

  8. 8

    Check the front passenger-side brake drum. Lift the front passenger-side tire off the ground using an automotive jack; remove the tire with a tire iron to access the brake drum.

  9. 9

    Check the brake drum for movement. If it will not move, strike the brake with a hammer. This will sometimes unstick the brakes.

  10. 10

    Replace the tire and lower the car to the ground.

  11. 11

    Check both front brake drums for ice. If there is ice, hit the brake drum with a hammer to knock it loose. Run the car's engine to help melt the ice.

Tips and warnings

  • If these steps do not facilitate repair of the stuck brakes, see a qualified auto mechanic. Brakes require special tools and techniques for more advanced diagnostics and repair.

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