Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping – What to Do?

Some of our regular readers asked us a weird problem: they told us that their brake pedal pushes back when stopping the car! We investigated, and here is what we came up with.

Owning a car sure is not an easy task; from fueling it up to keeping it dust-free, all these duties fall into the lap of the car owner. 

However, the most frustrating problems could be the ones that appear inside the mechanics of the car, mainly because they take time to be figured out and resolved.

Among the long list of car mechanical issues, we came across people complaining a lot about why their brake pedal pushes back when stopping the car?  

However, the severity of this problem is a little higher as even a slight twitch in the brake system can lead to severe consequences. This article is aimed at providing a clear and comprehensive answer to this question.


Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping

What is ABS? How does it work?

Anti-lock Braking System, often abbreviated as ABS, aids the brake systems of a vehicle by preventing the wheels from jamming up when you apply the brakes suddenly, especially on a wet and skiddy road. It also assists in improving the steering control while braking.

It was first used only in a few advanced motorcycles and cars, but nowadays, every vehicle is equipped with it since it’s a vital safety feature now.

There are four primary parts of an Anti-lock Braking System which are

  • Controller
  • Pump
  • Valves
  • Speed sensors

ABS’s most essential and only function is to Pump up or release the force on vehicle wheels when the brakes are applied too hard. 

Sensors on each wheel recognize ‘locking’ (when a wheel stops moving and begins to slide). Albeit not all ABS frameworks are similar, some just keep wheels on the back hub from locking. 

When a lock-up is identified, ABS slows it down, usually 100’s of times per second. It prevents the wheel or wheels from sliding and helps keep the driver in charge of the vehicle.


Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping


The Answer To The Query:

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that if your brakes are kicking back when your vehicle is on muddy or snowy surfaces, there is nothing to fret about. That’s a primary function for the ABS. This just means that your brakes are functioning fine.

However, if you were driving on a regular road but still your brake pedal pushes back, there is some problem with your ABS sensing.

Usually, The ABS sensor dives into the hole in the wheel hub to check on the speed every wheel is moving with. Suppose it detects any difference between the speed of the wheels. It assumes the wheels are sliding and pushes back the brake pedal to equalize it out.

By now, most people assume that the solution is to take out the brake sensors and fix them or either replace them with a new pair. However, there is an obstacle that lies in between this process when not done cautiously.

Rust starts to build up between the sensor and the wheel hub and sometimes pushes out the sensor out of the hole to the extent that it starts sending entirely different speed detections to the ABS module. This leads to the brake pedal pushing back frequently. This problem increases as the rust build-up grows.


Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping

The Fix:

Get under the front end of your car and start removing the tires one at a time. To have some additional space while working, Alleviate the caliper and eliminate the brake rotor.  

Once opened, you will see the sensor with the wire and the bolts that hold it up in the center point. The critical step is to get them out without causing any breakage. 

Clean the sensor, be highly cautious with the wires, eliminate the bolts, and delicately haul the sensor out of the center point.

Now get a microfiber cloth, towel, or anything to fix the hole as a sensor replacement temporarily.

Using sandpaper or a scrubbing pad, get rid of all the rust around the opening. Once that’s done, clean around the sensor’s tip and place it back at its place. 

You may also apply a few drops of silicone glue on previously rusted areas and the O-shaped ring of the sensor.

Once the sensor is fit back onto its place, Place back the bolts, caliper, and the rotor, finished up by the tire.

Make sure to follow the same procedure with the other tire as the problem may arise again if not solved correctly.


Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes brakes to pulsate when stopping?

Most likely, this is a functioning issue in your anti-lock Braking System as it must Pump up the brakes while equalizing the tires’ speed. 

How do you fix a pulsating brake pedal?

Once diagnosed, you can repair a pulsating brake pedal by opening the front end of your car and cleaning the rust around it without causing any further damages, and place it back safely.

What is a pulsating brake pedal?

Pulsation is a vibration to and fro movement that you may experience in your steering wheel or braking system while stopping or slowing down your vehicle. 

A pulsating brake pedal is mainly caused by some functioning issue in the ABS of the car. Note that it’s not safe to drive with a pulsating break as it’s pretty frustrating and can even hinder your traction, which can, in severe terms, lead to accidents.


Brake Pedal Pushes Back When Stopping


As brakes play an essential part in the core mechanics, it’s necessary to ensure that they are being taken care of properly.

Suppose any such problem arises with your brake pedal. In that case, it’s ideal for getting it diagnosed professionally before digging yourself into it since it will save time, and you will know what to do.

Also, if you are uncertain about doing it right, then seek professional help to prevent any further damages.

Many people generally use the above-described procedure but make sure that you don’t let loose on your cautious instincts.

Happy Driving!

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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