You are driving along and all seems well. A traffic light has turned to amber up ahead so you start to apply the brakes. Nothing happens. Pushing harder on the pedal does not help the situation. Don’t panic. There are ways to stop a car even without the brakes.
- The obvious first step is to take your foot off the gas; the not-so-obvious next step is to immediately shut off the cruise control if applying the brake did not do this automatically.
- If the brake pedal feels hard, feel with your foot for an obstruction underneath and kick it aside. A soft pedal usually means air in the brake lines or a faulty master cylinder. You can try pumping the brakes and the pedal may improve, but this will be temporary. In an emergency, don’t worry if you have ABS brakes, try pumping the pedal anyway.
- Try using the emergency brake. A cable is used to activate this brake and may still function even if the main brake system has failed to stop the vehicle.
- Downshifting the transmission to a lower gear will also slow down the vehicle. You can try this with a automatic or manual transmission. Remember, we are discussing an emergency situation and are not going to worry about possible damage to the transmission under these circumstances.
- Keep aware of your surroundings to avoid pedestrians and damaging property. You may find yourself on an upgrade which may help to slow you down even more.
It may be necessary to employ more than one of these methods to fully stop your vehicle. Keep in mind these methods are for stopping a car in an emergency situation. If you would like to upgrade to a newer automobile, consider your certified used Mazda dealership for a reliable newer vehicle.