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Tech Talk

How to Fix Excessive Brake Pedal Travel

What Is Excessive Brake Pedal Travel?

Excessive brake pedal travel happens when you feel your pedal sinking rapidly while braking, or sitting lower than usual when activating your vehicle's brakes. This can happen due to wobbly discs knocking pistons back or air in the braking system.

Performing DIY brake repair to fix excessive brake pedal travel can be a tedious task. Follow the steps below to diagnose and repair your sinking brakes.

How to Fix Excessive Brake Pedal Travel

1. Diagnose the Problem. To diagnose issues with the master cylinder, the first thing you need to do is remove the lines, install brass or plastic plugs into the outlets, and apply the brakes. What happens when you apply the brakes will tell you what issue your vehicle is having. You can continue this process of elimination by isolating each wheel.

2. Use Your Parking Brake. If you don’t typically engage your parking brake, the parking brake can be key in figuring out if your car is suffering from excessive brake pedal travel. If the parking brake doesn’t properly engage, that generally means a low pedal.

3. Bleed the Brakes. Bleeding your brakes is an important step in brake pedal travel repair and other brake issues. Use a jelly jar half full of brake fluid and a short hose to depress your brake pedal.

While depressing the pedal, rotate the star wheel to lose up the clearance. Then, go back one click when the wheel scrapes. It’s best to have a partner on hand when bleeding your brakes.

4. Bleed the Master Cylinders. After bleeding the brakes, bleeding the master cylinders is the next step. In traditional systems, you begin with the longest line in the circuit first, and go from the right rear, left rear, right front, and left the front. In diagonally split systems, the order is right rear, left front, left rear, and right front. Flush out the bleeder valves, and finally, remove the air from your master cylinder.

If you’re not sure which type of system your vehicle is or are unaware of the proper tools needed to fix excessive brake pedal travel, it’s best to bring your vehicle into Brake Works.


With two convenient locations with great weekend hours, getting proper brake maintenance is simpler than you think. Contact our team of certified specialists to schedule an appointment.