I have a 2001 VW Passat. About 4 days ago I changed the front brake pads on both sides and the caliper and rotor on the passenger side. Everything seemed fine until yesterday on my way to work after stopping at a light when I accelerated the brakes slammed on at 20mph then released and continued to do so until I got my car home. I've talked to some people about it and all they can think of is that I need to bleed the brake line better. Any ideas?

  • I sort of wonder whether this may be something other than the brakes, maybe a differential or transmission issue.
    – cory
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:11
  • A bad bleed will typically result in a soft/spongy pedal preventing you from engaging the brakes, rather than engaging them without your input. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:27
  • Does you car have an electronic parking brake? Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:37
  • Thanks for the input. I'm going to work on it tomorrow with a friend who knows a lot more about than I do.
    – Ethan fox
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


I am wondering if there is a bad electrical connection on the anti-lock/traction control brake sensor that may have happened when the caliper and rotor was replaced. If your Passat has traction control and the sensor does not reliably return a signal to show the wheel on that side is turning properly, traction control would engage the brakes on the other side of the car to try and get that wheel to catch up to speed. A bad sensor or connection would make it look like it was turning slower than it should. This presumes that your Passat has traction control, so it is only a guess... But I would agree it could also be caused by a differential or transmission problem; I am just a little more inclined to think it is something brake-related just because the brakes were just worked on so recently.

  • 1
    This was my thought as well, but I would think that would be accompanied by a flashing "traction control" light or indication, if so equipped. OP might have been busy contemplating an underwear change at the time of the incident and missed a small cluster warning... In addition to a bad connection, a bracket may have gotten bent, or bits of dislodged rust accumulated on the sensor as they become magnetic over time.
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 12:06

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