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What does It Mean When the Brake Pedal is Hard to Push Down

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The brake pedal is hard to push down, an extra hard effort for the driver to push the brake pedal because of a problem with the power brake unit


What does it mean when the brake pedal is hard to push down


(1) There is a problem with the power brake unit.


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The car is equipped with vacuum-assisted power brakes so that the car braking is much easier and less effort is exerted when the brake pedal is depressed. Since the power brakes make the stepping of the brake pedal much easier therefore if the power brakes have a problem then the brake pedal becomes stiff and the driver needs a lot of effort to step on the pedal so that the car will stop.

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Vacuum-assisted power brakes are a device that uses a vacuum coming from the engine to make it easier for the driver to step on the brake pedal when stopping the car. The vacuum-assisted power brakes have a vacuum hose running from the engine going into a metal or plastic canister that is located between the firewall and the master cylinder. Now, observed the following condition so that the problem can easily be identified and isolated.

If the engine is running rough at any condition then the problem is a leaking or a broken vacuum hose. However, when the engine only runs rough when the driver depresses the brake pedal even when the car is not moving then the problem is the brake canister.

What to do if the brake pedal is hard to push

The first thing to do is to confirm if the car is equipped with vacuum-assisted power brakes. To identify if the car has vacuum-assisted power brakes open the hood and inspect if there is a metal or plastic canister located in between the master cylinder and the firewall, usually, the vacuum assisted unit is a round metal or plastic with a diameter of 10 to 14 inches with 4 to 7 inches thick it is easily be spotted since no other metal canister can be seen on that area with that size so it is safe to say that vacuum-assisted power brake is located.

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Next is to check the hose that runs from the vacuum-assisted unit going into the engine. Observe the hose if there is any leak or crack develop on the hose. When the hose is in good condition, ask the mechanic to inspect the power brake unit and replace it if there is a problem with the unit. Usually, the power brake unit is cannot be repaired so a replacement is necessary.


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