Vehicle braking systems usually operate by taking advantage of the ability of braking fluid to transfer pressure. Normally, manufacturers design the braking systems in such a way that the distance travelled by the brake pedal, when pressed, is enough to cause the vehicle to stop.
However, there are times when applying pressure on the pedal doesn't stop the vehicle -- even after the pedal goes all the way to the floor. This is usually a sign of ineffective pressure transfer within a vehicle's braking system. The following are some of the things that might be to blame for your vehicle problem.
Loss of brake fluid
Brake fluid is responsible for the transfer of pressure within the braking system. And since the system is closed, the volume of the fluid usually has an effect on the pressure within the system.
Having less braking fluid will reduce the pressure of the system. This will reduce the effectiveness with which the system transfers the added pressure when the brakes are applied, something that will then reduce braking effectiveness.
The most common cause of reduced brake fluid levels are leaks. To confirm whether this is the case, check for any fluid deposits under your vehicle. You can also confirm this by taking a look at your vehicle's brake master cylinder reservoir. If it is empty, you have a brake fluid leak.
Worn brake pads
Continued use usually causes the vehicle's braking pads to wear out. This can then cause the brake pedal to move to the floor without having the expected braking effect because of two reasons. The first has to do with the fact that due to the wear, the distance that the brake pads have to travel in order to cause effective braking is longer. The brake pedal may thus need to travel a longer distance before the necessary braking effect can be felt. The second reason has to do with the resulting low-fluid-level effect that worn brake pads have. This is because worn out brake pads usually cause the complete extension of the vehicle's caliper pistons. This creates extra room for the brake fluid. And since the volume of brake fluid will remain the same, this reduces the effective pressure of the system. Eventually, this will reduce the effectiveness with which hydraulic pressure is transferred within the system. This is what may then be to blame for the brake pedal going all the way to the floor without the expected braking effect.
Lost braking fluid needs to be replaced in order to restore the vehicle's braking system. However, any leaks in the system need to be detected and sealed before any fluid replacement. As for braking problems caused by worn brake shoes, replacing the defective brake shoes is advisable. Contact a business, such as Hudson Goodyear, for more information.