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Brakes in the snow!


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#1 hedgepig

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:43 PM

Had a nasty experience on the way home tonight--I was approaching a junction at the bottom of a very slight hill going very gently in second gear, changed down to first gear and then gently braked and nothing happened!!

The pedal was rock hard and didn't respond at all so the only reason I managed to stop was with the handbrake and a lot of luck in that there was nothing in front and very fortunately nothing coming on the main road.

When the car came to a stop the engine cut out and all the lights lit up--I started the engine again, pressed the brake pedal and all was well again.

A freak of the weather perhaps--don't know--do know that it was very lucky that no damage to the car or me or other people.

My other half reckons it was because of the snow and ice compounding and causing the brakes to fail but I've never had that experience before in any other car and I have driven in the snow before.

Any thoughts?

I'm going to speak to the dealer tomorrow and see what they say--good job it didn't happen somewhere else.............

If it's the weather causing it, then this may serve as a warning for you guys perhaps?

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#2 Nipz

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:54 PM

Glad your ok!!

I hate driving in the snow because it's so unpredictable like that!

I have no idea what it could be! Please post back when u have spoken to the dealer!

#3 stef123

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 11:38 PM

Glad your ok!!

I hate driving in the snow because it's so unpredictable like that!

I have no idea what it could be! Please post back when u have spoken to the dealer!


did the engine definetly cut out after the brake pedal went hard? if the engine had cut out before, the pedal would go hard and it takes alot of pressure to get any braking force. I suggest you get the brakes looked over ASAP. glad your not hurt though.

#4 Bottlethroddy

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 10:51 AM

Unfortunatley what you experienced was normal if you were driving on snow at the time, its the one time where ABS becomes a hinderance. If you have absolutely no grip, when you brake the wheels lock up very easily, therefore all the ABS is doing is constantly releasing the brakes, causing a hard pedal and no braking ability.

If you have an ABS switch to disable it, always use it in the snow, but take extra care to brake.

If you WEREN'T on snow and you were on a grippy road, follow the advice above and get your brakes checked ASAP, a hard pedal could be a servo fault and will happen randomly.

#5 Russ

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 08:11 PM

Unfortunatley what you experienced was normal if you were driving on snow at the time, its the one time where ABS becomes a hinderance. If you have absolutely no grip, when you brake the wheels lock up very easily, therefore all the ABS is doing is constantly releasing the brakes, causing a hard pedal and no braking ability.

If you have an ABS switch to disable it, always use it in the snow, but take extra care to brake.

If you WEREN'T on snow and you were on a grippy road, follow the advice above and get your brakes checked ASAP, a hard pedal could be a servo fault and will happen randomly.



He said the pedal was ROCK HARD. Had the ABS came into play the pedal would have slowly sank to the floor and he would have heard the ABS 'drilling'

#6 Bottlethroddy

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 08:20 PM

He said the pedal was ROCK HARD. Had the ABS came into play the pedal would have slowly sank to the floor and he would have heard the ABS 'drilling'


Well ive found in the snow with the focus that the pedal goes rock hard, and didnt 'drill' as such due to the tyres having no purchase. Drilling will normally occur from the tyres taking up grip and releasing under the pulses from the ABS. in zero grip situations, the tyres cant get a purchace so the abs tends to stay released more than applied, so you lose the pulsing sensation. Found the same in the transit in the last bout of snow we had a few years back as well.

Not saying for a second his brakes arn't faulty though, and he should definately get them checked... its just ice and ABS is not a sensation a lot of people have felt. In fact my neighbour near on scared herself to death from Ice + ABS syndrome coming into the cul-de-sac and ended up half in a hedge as it just refused to stop. Luckily there were no cars parked there!

#7 theboynoz

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:19 PM

Well ive found in the snow with the focus that the pedal goes rock hard, and didnt 'drill' as such due to the tyres having no purchase. Drilling will normally occur from the tyres taking up grip and releasing under the pulses from the ABS. in zero grip situations, the tyres cant get a purchace so the abs tends to stay released more than applied, so you lose the pulsing sensation. Found the same in the transit in the last bout of snow we had a few years back as well.

Not saying for a second his brakes arn't faulty though, and he should definately get them checked... its just ice and ABS is not a sensation a lot of people have felt. In fact my neighbour near on scared herself to death from Ice + ABS syndrome coming into the cul-de-sac and ended up half in a hedge as it just refused to stop. Luckily there were no cars parked there!



I second that, when it comes to snow and ice each road will throw up different hazzards and no matter what car you're in you will experience some issues. E.G. I managed to get all the way home, only to find i couldn't get down my road, until i swept and used a spade to clear the road even with my amazing winter tires, whereas the r reg punto that came flying down the hill seemed quite happy to get down the icy hill and round the corner and it doesn't even have blooming abs. I guess some of this comes down to blind luck rather than careful driving and good quality extras.

Would still get it checked out though for peace of mind, can't be too careful!

#8 hedgepig

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:24 PM

I spoke to the dealer about it and they asked if the engine had cut out before before the brakes went hard and in all honesty I was concentrating that hard on getting the car to stop that I only noticed that the engine had cut out when I came to a standstill, so I suppose it's a possibility.

If that were the case of course, it would explain everything but I'm still a bit apprehensive although the problem has not occurred again but the other morning I did get a message on the computer saying there was a fault with the braking system!!

Maybe the car's mardy about the weather and wants it to warm up--in fairness to the dealer they have said that they will check it out if I want but I figure that since then it's been OK I might as well leave it until the 1500 check etc.

#9 keiron

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 07:01 PM

Had a nasty experience on the way home tonight--I was approaching a junction at the bottom of a very slight hill going very gently in second gear, changed down to first gear and then gently braked and nothing happened!!

The pedal was rock hard and didn't respond at all so the only reason I managed to stop was with the handbrake and a lot of luck in that there was nothing in front and very fortunately nothing coming on the main road.

When the car came to a stop the engine cut out and all the lights lit up--I started the engine again, pressed the brake pedal and all was well again.

A freak of the weather perhaps--don't know--do know that it was very lucky that no damage to the car or me or other people.

My other half reckons it was because of the snow and ice compounding and causing the brakes to fail but I've never had that experience before in any other car and I have driven in the snow before.

Any thoughts?

I'm going to speak to the dealer tomorrow and see what they say--good job it didn't happen somewhere else.............

If it's the weather causing it, then this may serve as a warning for you guys perhaps?



#10 keiron

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

If your wheels locked up in the snow, the ABS probably activated. This does make the pedal feel quite hard but you also fell the pedal rise and fall slighlty as the ABS operates.

#11 zetec521

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 07:56 PM

If it really did cut out(engine) and you didn't notice it(probably you have the stereo on in way much decibels :rolleyes: )..then obviously the brakes would be hard as rock. But as you said that your car's comp have given you a "faulty" report on the brake system...then that's another thing to SERIOUSLY worry.

#12 hedgepig

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 10:34 PM

If it really did cut out(engine) and you didn't notice it(probably you have the stereo on in way much decibels :rolleyes: )..then obviously the brakes would be hard as rock. But as you said that your car's comp have given you a "faulty" report on the brake system...then that's another thing to SERIOUSLY worry.


Funny you should say that though, because periodically since the incident (no repetition of it thankfully) there is a message on the computer which appears randomly saying "brakes faulty."

I'll get the dealer to check it at the 1500 courtesy check--it's probably just a quirk in the system........... :blink:

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