One step on the brake pedal and nothing happens – a horror scenario for many drivers. Fortunately, such a sudden brake failure is relatively rare. Nevertheless, it is important to know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. Therefore, here is an overview of the possible causes of a defective brake and what to do in such a case.
Brake suddenly stops working – possible causes
If the brake fails, it is imperative to remain calm. First, you should take your foot off the gas. Immediately check the function of the brake pedal. If the brake can be fully depressed, it could be that there is not enough brake fluid. A defect in the brake drums or the brake master cylinder can also be the cause in this case.
Try to gently depress the brake pedal several times in succession to generate brake pressure.
Unless the brake pedal can be moved, there could be a blockage in the brake system. If possible, you should feel with a foot whether an object may have become wedged under the pedal.
What to do if the brake fails?
Apply the engine brake by shifting down a gear. Repeat the process. Shift down further. Do this carefully, because a jerky, hasty downshift in such a situation quickly leads to a loss of control over the vehicle.
You can also make a difference by slowly pulling on the handbrake. The braking effect is comparatively slow, however, as the braking force only affects the rear tires.
Note on braking with the handbrake
If you apply the handbrake too quickly, it could lock the rear wheels. At high speeds, this is very dangerous. Instead, make sure to regulate the brake pressure gently with the handbrake to prevent tire blockages. Pull the handbrake slowly. Listen for the clicking sound with each pull. With each additional handle, the speed of your vehicle will slowly decrease until, ideally, it ultimately comes to a stop.
Maneuver the car so that no one is endangered. Avoid obstacles and at the same time continue to focus on reducing speed. Switch on the hazard warning lights to signal to other road users that you are in a precarious situation. You may be able to sound the horn to increase the warning effect.
Brake defective – what else helps to be able to stop
If the brake of your vehicle is defective, you can try to brake via the steering system.. To do this, steer your car from right to left in sweeping zigzag movements on open spaces or wide streets with little traffic. The distance the car travels reduces the driving speed and it becomes easier to come to a stop.
Of course, such an approach is not possible on narrow or densely trafficked roads. And even at high speed, this is associated with a high risk of accidents!
Prevent mistakes at the brake
Brakes are among the most stressed components of any vehicle. Due to the natural wear and tear, the braking effect is reduced over time, sometimes considerably.
According to the StVO, vehicle owners are obliged to check the roadworthiness and safety of their car or. To be ensured by a professional workshop. This also includes a regular brake check. You should even replace the brakes altogether in the following cases:
– … When the braking effect wears off.
– … As soon as a metallic squeaking or grinding noise is audible when braking.
– … If the brake pedal can be depressed too deeply.
The right way to deal with a broken car brake
Even if it seems impossible: keep a cool head in case of brake failure. With the help of the engine brake or the hand brake it is possible to stop the car. If you feel you can't handle the situation on your own, call the police. They will help you on the phone to calm down and do everything right, so that nobody gets hurt.