If Your Brakes Fail While Driving, What Do You Do?

As the leading brake repair specialists in Bloomington, MN, we’re frequently asked about brake failure at Kennedy Transmission. The good news is encouraging: It doesn’t happen very often. The bad news is a little surprising: Most people aren’t sure how to handle this driving emergency.

What to Do When Your Car Brakes Fail

If you’ve never experienced brake failure, it can seem very frightening. Don’t panic. Turn on your emergency flashers, and concentrate on safely getting the car off the road.

1. Pump the Brakes

Most cars operate with dual brakes, and this usually prevents complete brake failure. You probably have at least half the force needed to slow down, so pump the brake pedal fast and hard three or four times to increase fluid pressure.

Power Tip: If your car has anti-lock brakes, press the pedal once all the way to the floor.

2. Engage the Emergency Brake

The emergency brake operates independently of your main brakes, but it’s not designed to stop the car. If pumping the pedal doesn’t work, slowly engage the emergency brake. This should help reduce your speed.

3. Let the Car Downshift

An automatic transmission shifts to a lower gear when you take your foot off the accelerator. This simple action won’t bring you to a stop, but it does slow the car. If you’re driving a manual transmission, work your way down the gears.

Power Tip: Don’t put the car in neutral. This eliminates the braking effect of downshifting.

4. Pull Off the Road

As you work through the first three steps, ease the car off the road to the shoulder or breakdown lane. Keep the emergency flashers on as you look for a safer place to park the car.

Power Tip: Don’t turn off the engine before coming to a complete stop. Otherwise, you’ll lose power steering.

5. Call for Help

Once you’re safely parked, turn off the engine, and engage the emergency brake. Leave your flashers on so that passing drivers can see your stopped car. Call a tow service, and explain your situation.

Power Tip: Add a dependable auto repair and tow service to your smartphone contact list today.

Minimize the Chances

You can’t foresee every emergency, but you can minimize the chances of brake failure. Our Bloomington, MN shop handles brake repair and replacement for all types of vehicles. Kennedy Transmission is always at your service with seven convenient locations across the state.

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