by Bob DeP. AskBob@stretcher.com
I have checked my '88 Jetta's brake pads, rotors and brake fluid levels and everything's perfect. When I step on the brake hard, the pedal feels like mush. It goes to the floor and the braking ability is almost nonexistent. I have to pump them in these situations, rather than just stomping on it. My dad said it could be the booster or the master cylinder. They also squeal occasionally. There are no leaks, either. Any ideas?
You have classic signs of a worn or malfunctioning master cylinder. If it was the booster, the pedal would be very hard to push. If it feels like much and goes all the way to the floor, it is the master cylinder (usually). On one occasion, where I had classic symptoms such as yours, the problem turned out to be a leaky rear wheel brake cylinder. So check there first, because wheel cylinders are a whole bunch easier to change than the master!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive center and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- How to hire an affordable, reliable housesitter
- Helping your adult children with housing
- 10 ways to cut the cost of cleaning
- Installing bathroom in-floor heat
- Natural homemade laundry soap recipes
- How to reduce heating bills this winter
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Should I borrow from my home equity?
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?