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I have a Honda accord 2008 which has performed well until recently. On my may to work I noticed my car wasn't accelerating as usual; it had this feel like it was dragging. On parking, I noticed smoke on my left rear tire. However, i thought nothing of this.

Going home in the evening while on the freeway, my car started decelerating and the brake pedal became very hard. Pulling to the side of the road, I shut restarted the engine but i could not move the car so I loosened the calipers and got some normal movement.

Any ideas on what might have gone wrong?

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What exactly did you loosen? –  Move more comments link to top Apr 10 '14 at 21:25
i loosened the caliper bolts to slacken their grip as they just locked up on me –  Mahonix Honix Apr 11 '14 at 6:01
How is your emergency brake/handbrake? –  Zaid Apr 11 '14 at 11:14
First of all, don't drive it anymore with the caliper loose. You are just begging for brake failure, accident, and loss of life. Secondly, is this happening on both sides at the same time? –  Paulster2 Apr 11 '14 at 11:59
@zaid my emergency brake is good and it happens on all four tires at the same time –  Mahonix Honix Apr 11 '14 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

up vote -1 down vote accepted

I believe it's brake caliper cylinder or brake guides that's stuck. I'd go with:

  • Drain all brake fluid. (You should change boiled-up brake fluid)
  • Service the brake caliper. (Change rubber parts, o-rings, clean off rust, silicone paste for cylinder and guides, copper paste on pads).
  • Change both rear brake disks. (Most likely you overheated that locking brake disk)
  • Refill brake fluid, bleed brakes.
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If this was accepted as an answer, why was this downvoted? –  abhi Apr 17 '14 at 17:50
@abhi because it's the shotgun approach. ie I don't know what's wrong so change everything in the rear. Even though the OP said it was affecting all four brakes, which pretty much points to the master cylinder, booster, or pedal. –  Move more comments link to top Apr 18 '14 at 13:16

It sounds like something is preventing the piston in your brake master cylinder from returning all the way to its home position.

This could be caused by something getting in the way of the pedal, preventing it from coming all the way back up. It doesn't take much, either. Just a fraction of an inch (a few mm) off its normal resting point and a bit of pressure will remain in the brake lines after each pedal depression. A dozen times or so, and your brake pedal will become quite hard, and the car will drive like it's tripled in weight. Make sure there's nothing blocking the brake pedal (loose wire, etc.); make sure the brake light switch that's mounted to the pedal bracket hasn't worked loose.

While you're under the dash, inspecting the brake pedal, take a look at the rod that the brake pedal pushes through the firewall into the master cylinder. It's adjustable, and it's possible (although probably rare) that the rod's lock nut has worked loose and the rod has come out of adjustment.

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