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I have a 2007 Honda Civic. I had its front brake pads replaced 2 months ago and had the rotors replaced. Now (and perhaps before--I can't recall) whenever I'm braking and hit a bump, the brakes lose their grip on the rotors and I no longer can slow down. I have to press the brakes much harder in order to stop. What could be going on and how can I fix this? It is especially terrifying coming off a freeway and hitting minor bumps where the road changes from concrete to asphalt.

(My brake job is guaranteed through Midas, so I shouldn't have to worry about the possibility that it was done wrong. If I recall correctly I requested ceramic brake pads. Also, multiple sources tell me that the rear brake pads are fine--though I haven't looked at that myself.)

Update: Took it to Midas, the master cylinder is going out.

  • So the brakes work fine on smooth roads? Just wondering why you requested ceramic pads? They might be "track pads" which do not work well for street driving. – SimpleSimon Mar 4 '14 at 13:14
  • They do work fine on smooth roads. I wanted ceramic because they last longer (I thought). – user14717 Mar 5 '14 at 15:34
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    Good luck! "Master Cylinder is going out" is the stock answer when a mechanic has no idea what's going on. You can test this yourself; pump up the brakes then press down as hard as you can and see if you can sense the pedal slowly going down. If it doesn't do this ask the mechanic what test they used to determine a failing MC. – Tim Nevins Sep 27 '17 at 16:01
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First of all, I would not drive it anymore until you get it sorted. Not having the ability to stop is pretty dangerous. Make your final trip one to the repair shop (Midas).

Second, take it back to Midas and have them figure out what the issue is. If the problem started when they replaced the pads/rotors, it's probably something they did or didn't do. Anybody can screw things up, even a shop like Midas. They should warrantee their work and should get it sorted out for you. As a thought, I'm wondering if the retaining bolts on the caliper(s) were put back on/torqued correctly. If the calipers are not set correctly, you might get this type of reaction.

As for the ceramic pads, this should not cause you any issues in and of themselves. Brake pads do need time to "bed" or get broke in, but should not cause you any problems with stopping.

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    Standard Bob comment: the "do not drive" should be in super duper bold! – Bob Cross Mar 2 '14 at 15:28
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Just going out on a limb here...but when you're braking and you hit a bump, theoretically the tires lose complete contact with the road surface. That loss of friction between the road and the tire is whats hampering your stopping ability.

  • I think your limb is fairly flimsy :P Unless the OP has bad shocks/suspension, this would not be the case. Your suspension is specifically designed, under normal driving conditions (and what is described falls well within those conditions), your tires do not leave the ground (severe potholes excepted). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 3 '14 at 1:10
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    Civics are pretty stiffly sprung and don't have much suspension travel, so I wouldn't completely discount this one. – Brian Knoblauch Mar 6 '14 at 17:07
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    In what country have you seen stock civics stiffly sprung with low suspension travel? In the US they are tall, tippy and pretty willowy and have tons of travel. Modified cars are a whole other prospect, however. Stock cars are the opposite of low and stiff, in my experience. I'm on my 4th civic now; '92 '00, 02 '12, plus a '96 Integra (a Civic by any other name. – Tim Nevins Sep 27 '17 at 15:57
  • This would also cause the abs to engage and kinda feels like brake loss. – user22295 Aug 29 '18 at 5:24
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ABS maybe engaging it feels weird through the pedal. The bump can trip it while breaking and kinda feels like break loss. Feels like a vibration and the pedal drops a little. I've had cars do this and not to uncommon.

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