1999 ford escort zx2

I was driving my car today and it started driving like the brakes were on. It started to smell like rubber was burning. Before that I stopped at a traffic light and the car pulled to the left. Need help, is the little car dying.

Sounds like one of your brake calipers has seized but any mechanic should be able to diagnose it quickly and give you an estimate. If you don’t have a mechanic, look in the mechanics files on this website and please stay out of national chains.

You need to have the entire front brake system inspected.

This includes the brake calipers and brake caliper hoses.

What can happen is, a brake caliper hose can deteriorate internally where a piece of rubber hangs down and acts like a check valve.

So, when the brake pedal is applied, the hydraulic pressure operates the calipers to apply the brakes. But when the brake pedal is released, that hunk of rubber acts like a check valve and doesn’t release the hydraulic pressure from the brake caliper.


“You need to have the entire front brake system inspected.”

That’s good advice that bears repeating.

And repeating a second time. This is a dangerous condition and needs addressing ASAP.

Thanks for all the help and advice. I took the car to an independent repair shop. They told me it was not the caliper, but the rubber hose. They also told me that the car needed two new rotars for the front brakes and the rear brakes needed replace because of leaking fluid. The total cost $715
Can anyone tell me if that’s a good price or not.


So let’s see . . .

2 front rotors, and presumably new brake pads
front brake hoses . . . doing both sides, I presume

“rear brakes needed replace because of leaking fluid.” That probably means the wheel cylinders were leaking, so you’re getting rear wheel cylinders and shoes

$715 sounds kind of on the high side, in my opinion, even if you factor in diagnosis and the price of high quality parts

I’d like to know how it’s broken down . . . how much for parts, how much for labor

What is labor rate?
exactly what parts are getting replaced?

2 brake rotar 33.02 - $66.04
2 brake hose $18.52 -$37.04
1 brake shoe $26.82
2 wheel cylinder $17.05 - $34.10
1 drum brake hardware kit $14.72
1 brake pads $61.83

1 front brake replacement. $140
1 rear brake replacement. $140
1 replace brake hose. $75
1 rear wheel cylinder. $75

Parts: $240.55
Labor: $430.00
Supply. $21.50
Tax def: $19.65

It sounds like they are doing a thorough job of rebuilding both the front and back brake systems. The parts price seems completely reasonable. The labor might be a tad on the high side, but within reason. Basically you should end up with close to a completely a new brake system front and rear which should last ages. No way to tell via the internet if everything they are proposing needs to be done, but it sounds from your comments like the shop knows what it is doing. For $715, I’d say go for it and the satisfaction of knowing that when you press on the brake pedal the car will stop.

Need help, is the little car dying.

If this car has very high mileage, and/or is otherwise the worse for wear, then yes you might well be heading down a path of repair bills exceeding the value of the car.

Miles on the car 190,000
I just had the car repaired last month. I told the repair person that I’ve never spent this much money in repairs within a two month period. I ask the repair person would it be smart to put more money in the car and he told me yes.
I will tell you what was done last month to the car one I find the papers

I don’t find the price high at all for the amount of work he’s doing and assuming quality workmanship. And I’m impressed by the thoroughness of his diagnosis. He didn’t just find one problem and stop, he assessed the condition of the entire brake system. I’m highly impressed.

Failure to get the car to start can ruin your day.
Failure to get the car to stop can ruin the rest of your life.
I recommend proceeding with this shop.

The prices seem fair and you should not get upset over having to spend money on this repair. Brakes are a normal wear and tear item and you have to look at it as one of those cost to drive items. In other words, pay to play.
Compare it to a home. If the roof needed new shingles or the hot water tank needed replacement you would likely fix that instead of dumping the house.

You could also look at it this way. If you dumped the car and bought a brand new one you would not have the 700 dollar repair expense but you would be losing more money than that in interest charges and depreciation right off the bat.

The prices seem ok to me, prices vary widely from place to place.

When it comes to brakes there are no short-cuts to take. Inspect the entire system, repair as needed and pay the bill regardless of age or condition of vehicle. Either that or don’t drive the car.


Thanks for that information

Out of curiosity, what is the shop’s labor rate?

Last month I took the car in because it sounded like the muffler had a hole in it. The guy at the repair place told me the car needs a new pvc hose and repair the flex pipe. The cost for that was $950.
In the past I always went by the book by taking the car in for repairs and checkups. For some reason after I had the belt replaced last year, the car is not driving the same. Today the service light was on again.