General Question

Seek's avatar

Can we DIY this car repair?

Asked by Seek (34769points) December 23rd, 2015

One of my new car’s brake calipers is slightly locked up. It still allows me to drive. I only noticed because the friction made the wheel hot and I felt it when I walked past.

The car is a 2000 Taurus wagon.

Hubby and I are both pretty handy.

Is this something that is easily fixed?

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14 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Depends, disc brakes are somewhat easy, It could be a problem with that particular caliper or it could be more systemic like the master cylinder. Nothing is preventing you from simply taking a look right? Won’t really know until you take a look. Caliper boots cracked? when you bleed it does brake fluid go shooting out? I hate working on auto brakes myself, I’ll change the pads and that’s about it. I’m a bit more lazy in middle age. Motorcycle…yes I’ll do it.

If you dig into it just don’t get any brake fluid on you, that stuff will give you a splitting headache.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Doesn’t sound right. Which wheel?

Seek's avatar

Driver’s side rear

Seek's avatar

Drum, I believe.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think the Taurus should have discs all around, but if you or hubby have never done a brake job, I would suggest taking the car to a shop where they can snatch the wheel off and give you a diagnosis. I don’t think there’s any charge and the process is quick.

kritiper's avatar

It sounds like the brake shoes on that wheel have become contaminated by oil, grease, brake fluid, or ?. Pull the wheel and drum and inspect. Look for a leaking oil seal, if it is rear wheel drive. Check for a leaking brake cylinder by prying the rubber boots back slightly and looking for fluid. The drum may show signs of a leak. Correct the leak and/or replace the brake shoes on both sides, and have the drums turned. Remember! oil/grease and brakes don’t mix, so don’t recontaminate by getting grease or whatever on the new shoes or freshly turned drum surface from your hands. Like @stanleybmanly said, it might be better to have a pro do this work.

jca's avatar

I would bring it to a mechanic and ask them to take a look at the brakes and give you a price. Then you can find out from a (hopefully) competent professional what exactly the problem is, and you then tell them you’ll come back another day to get it done. Whether or not you return is up to you, but in the meantime you know what the problem is and you know what it would cost should you choose to have them do it. You can then price out parts yourself from an auto parts store.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

this is probably what you are in for if you decide to tackle drum brakes

Don’t breathe the dust!!

I love it when the first step is to beat on it with a hammer

rojo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me that is usually my last step too, right before I take it to someone who knows what they are doing.

I used to do brakes when I was younger and broker (more broke?). Always detested it but it was not that difficult if you followed directions.

I would jack it up and take a look. What will it cost you? 30 minutes? See if you can see an obvious problem and make a more informed decision as to whether you want to tackle the project. The vast majority of the times it was something obvious but sometimes the drums and discs get warped by heat and you are talking fractions of an inch. If you cannot find any glaring problem then I would take it in . When I have tried just replacing pads and rebuilding brake cylinders, sometimes it worked, sometimes I ended up taking it in anyway. A crapshoot.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@rojo That’s me also with my daily driver anyway. If it’s not an obvious and easy fix it goes to the shop. I don’t generally have the time to beat on it for hours both mentally and physically. I still enjoy working on motorcycles though.

jca's avatar

Lucky Guy is very good with cars. I’m going to contact him and ask that he answer.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have the experience and the tools but not the drive/desperation any more. Since I would go as far as: jack up car, remove wheel, bang with hammer, blow air on it to remove dust, bang some more, blow more air, dribble some penetrating oil on parts that should be moving, let it soak while you go inside and have lunch, bang some more. Put it together and try it. If it still doesn’t work to the shop I’d go.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If it is disc brakes in the rear, there is an emergency brake system too. This article may help it is from Taurus Club dot Com

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