My brake pedal requires a further distance to push than it used to. This is not to say it's harder to actually apply the brake; it's just that when I apply the brake, the pedal goes further back than it used to.

I know this is an adjustment usually; I think you can adjust the pedal directly? Or is there an alternative approach? Is it difficult to do?

EDIT: I verified that the brake fluid is at the maximum level.


  • It would help if you provided more information. At the highest level, what type of vehicle are we talking about? That would help answer things like adjustable pedal questions. – Bob Cross May 15 '12 at 14:37
  • 20O4 Toyota Camry, 4 cylinder. – Brian Mains May 15 '12 at 16:40

Sounds like a possible partial brake master cylinder failure. I had that happen where one set of seals blew out and it was essentially in "emergency backup mode". Took awhile to figure it out, we were playing with the pedal, bleeding the calipers, etc before we ended up at the master cylinder...

  • agreed - check the fluid level quickly! – Nick C May 15 '12 at 13:36
  • In that scenario, would my brake fluid be at the max level, because that's where it pretty much is right now... – Brian Mains May 15 '12 at 16:56
  • @Brian, I would suggest that you ignore the brake fluid level for now and check around the master cylinder for leaks. It's entirely possible that you have a small leak that hasn't manifested a dramatic loss of fluid yet. However, the partial loss of pressure is losing you leverage at the brake pads. – Bob Cross May 15 '12 at 17:20
  • It's possible to lose an internal seal that reduces effectiveness of the brakes (and gets you a step closer to total failure) without any fluid leakages at all. – Brian Knoblauch May 15 '12 at 20:17

Have you had the rear brake shoes checked lately?They may be worn or out of adjustment.Although they are supposed to be self adjusting they often require a manual adjustment between services.If this occured over a short period of time is it possible that someone drove it with the park brake engaged?This would wear the rear shoes and cause a long pedal stroke.Activate the parking brake and see if it will hold.If not the shoes may be out of adjustment or worn down.If you can do so safely,jack up the rear of the vehicle put it on stands and have someone apply the brake.Try to rotate the rear tire with the brakes applied to see if they are grabbing at all.If you can rotate the tire the brake system needs service.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.