From steering system to suspension and more, cars rely on a variety of working parts to function properly. The brake system is a crucial aspect of any working car, and helps ensure the safety of the driver, the car, and others on the road. Like many elements of a car, however, sometimes the braking system can develop problems after natural wear or an unlucky malfunction.
The brake booster, which is situated between the brake pedal and master cylinder, relies on a vacuum to facilitate the pressure that allows the brakes to be properly applied. Since brakes are, of course, vitally important to driver and road safety, a bad brake booster can throw a wrench into any driving situation.
If you’re interested in starting your auto repair career, read on to find out a few signs of a bad brake booster that you should keep an eye out for.
1. Auto Repair Professionals Should Watch for a ‘Hard’ Brake Pedal
One of the most obvious signs of a bad brake booster is the response of the brake pedal itself. Normally, a brake pedal can be pressed without much resistance, but when it becomes significantly difficult to push or becomes outright unresponsive, you may have a problem with the brake booster.
The brake booster’s primary function is to assist with the application of the brakes, and the quickest way to spot a fault booster is to test the pedal first. Try to depress the pedal four times—a brake pedal that is hard to engage or doesn’t return to its normal position is a good sign that the booster has to be replaced, or that there is a possible vacuum leak that may be affecting its performance.
2. A Longer Stopping Distance Is an Early Indication of a Faulty Brake Booster
Essentially, a brake booster increases the pressure that’s applied when pressing down on the brake pedal, which allows a vehicle to stop or slow more quickly. A vehicle that takes more than a reasonable or average amount of time to stop may have a problem with its brake booster, as a malfunctioning booster means that there isn’t enough power being transferred to the brakes to stop them efficiently.
It’s possible for brake boosters to fail both over time and overnight, which means that if you want to learn how to become a mechanic, you should remember to be proactive if you do see any signs of a failing brake system and make sure the problem is properly addressed and fixed.
3. Engine Stalling May Be a Common Sign After Auto Repair Courses
Since brake boosters operate around the use of pressure, sometimes a failing booster may draw extra vacuum from the engine, which is caused when the diaphragm in the booster fails, allowing air to bypass the seal. This means that the engine may stall or misfire when the pedals are pressed, due to the lack of appropriate vacuum.
While a stalled engine is an unwelcome sight, there are a few simple steps you can take to test it after your auto repair courses. After ensuring that the vacuum hose, check valve, and intake manifold are in good working order, start the engine and let it idle, then apply the parking brake. Cover part of the vacuum hose, and ask a colleague to depress the brake pedal. If the engine misfire stops, then there’s a good chance that the brake booster is the source of the problem, and should be replaced before the car leaves your garage.
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