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Brake failure

Question : I REFER to a query from a reader published in the Autocare column on July 6.

He wanted to know why water was leaking on the front passenger side just below the dashboard of his Viva. He had sent his car for repairs three times but the problem was still there.

Your reply was that the evaporator - meant to collect condensation from the air conditioning - could have been blocked, resulting in water collected in the evaporator to overflow into the passenger compartment.

You were right because my vehicle also faced the same problem 10 months ago.

I sent my vehicle to the franchise holder and when they detected the problem was due to a leakage connected with the air conditioner and since it was still under warranty, they sent it to an air conditioning manufacturer for repairs. Since then there was no leakage.

I used to drive a Nissan Sunny and often had to drive uphill. Before reaching the foothill, the car brakes malfunctioned.

On one occasion, there were two cars in front of me. I managed to swerve to the left and kept on depressing the brakes, but the brakes only worked about 50 meters away before I managed to stop the car.

There was the smell of burning rubber inside the car.

Why did the brakes malfunction ?

I had forgotten to use the handbrake. Would pulling the handbrake and switching off the ignition make a difference ? Is there any method to control the vehicle when the brakes fail ?

Also, what is the difference between a carburetor and a fuel injection engine ?

Answer : Thank you for your observations.

Regarding the brake problem in the Sunny, I think that before you got to the foothills you were already braking quite a lot as the road was going up and downhill, resulting in the brakes getting quite hot.

Since you mentioned the smell, and you did not mention that the brake pedal went down to the floor, then the likely reason for the brake failure was the brake pads themselves.

You could have been using soft brake pads which worked very well and gave good response and stopping power in city conditions, but under hard braking conditions they got too hot and actually burned and formed a glazed surface on the lining area in contact with the discs.

This glazed surface has little frictional qualities, hence the 50 meters to stop the car.

The handbrakes may not have stopped the car as the rear brakes may have had the same problem, even though they were drum types.

The safest action to take is to shift into a lower gear and keep shifting down as the car slows down. You may over rev the engine and damage the engine, but that is better than ending up in hospital.

Both carburetors and fuel injection control the amount of fuel mixing with the air for the engine to run.

However, this mixture is not constant as a richer mixture is needed for acceleration and a leaner one when cruising.

The carburetor, although having many jets, still cannot give as good a mixture as fuel injection as the EFI system makes use of many sensors to provide information to the "brain" that decides on the amount of fuel to inject.


Brake vibrations

ABS doubt

Brake failure

Disc types

Handbrake use

ABS system

Engine braking

Brake horsepower

Brake fluid

Worn brake pads

Faulty ABS

Handbrake danger

Squealing brakes

Unsettling brakes


Disc brakes 1

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Spark plugs
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