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Benji Ka

Can Somebody Give Me Advice On My Brakes?

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Hi guys,

Had my 1997 Ford Ka for 2 months now and I love it. Great little car for the money I got it for.

One of the things I noticed when I got the car is that the brakes on it are no where near as good as any car I've driven as a learner. They're quite soft feeling, and you have to push the pedal a relatively good distance to get effective braking out of it, and then they seem to get just about strong enough for "emergency" braking if you push harder. I assumed this was just slightly worn brakes. I have also heard that the brakes use the same system as the 1980 Ford Fiesta, so I guess this could be a reason (as brakes back then weren't up to modern standards). The car passed its MOT with no advisories relating to brakes in October, so I assumed they were fine. Also the brakes still manage to lock up without a problem under really heavy braking, so I'd have thought this'd mean they're perfectly strong enough.

However, this morning my step-dad drove it around the corner and now he's telling me that my brakes are "dangerous" and they need replacing. He says they shouldn't be anywhere near that bad. I told him you do have to push them harder than he's used to (as until recently he drove a 6 year old Hyundai Accent, and now drives my mum's brand new Hyundai i30) but he was having none of it. He says I need them done ASAP, preferably by the weekend otherwise it's an accident waiting to happen.

I'm only 17 and barely have the money for my monthly insurance payments, let alone new brakes, so I don't really want to go spending out on them if I don't need them. From the way the car feels, the MOT and what I've heard I'd say that new brakes would only make the car marginly better, as the brakes don't sequel or rub under braking so I don't think the pads need doing. The only thing I can think of is adjustment, but again I don't think it'll do much for it.

Basically I'd like it if somebody could just tell me if my brakes are normal or not? And if they're perfectly fine bearing in mind this is a 1997 car with 70,000 miles. I imagine there must be someone out there that can tell me what they think of Ford brakes :P

Cheers for your help guys, and thanks for reading through all this :)


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KA brakes are not great anyway, especially if yours has the solid disk type rather than the vented disk which I am sure it is.

What may make a difference is to have the brake fluid changed. It should be done every 2 or 3 years, and I bet yours has not been done in ages. Brake fluid is hydroscopic (think thats how you spell it) and therefore takes on water. This will reduce the efficiency of the braking system.

There is no adjustment on the front brakes and the rear drums have self adjusters. These can stick sometimes, but if the handbrake is operating properly, are probably OK.

Good luck with it and let us know how you get on.

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I completely agree with the above, brake fluid change will probably make a massive difference. It's easy to do, shouldn't cost much at a garage providing the bleed screws come out... They can be very stubborn

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