2006 Dodge grand caravan smoking brake


#1

just had my van inspected and tires rotated…van sits for a few days then travels 20 miles and am now smelling something burning and smoke is coming out from front right tire. Other discussions say calipers/pads and that’s ok BUT my question is since my van only has @24,000 on it, did the mechanic do something when he rotated my tires? I am a senior citizen and only use my van once a week. Thanks for your input.


#2

Apparently, you have a seized caliper on the right front brake, but I cannot imagine anything that was done in the course of tire rotation having caused this problem. IMHO, you should chalk it up to…coincidence…and possibly to poor maintenance practices.

Regarding maintenance…has the brake fluid ever been changed?
If not, then the build-up of moisture in the 8 year old brake fluid may have led to this problem.
Brake fluid should be changed every 3 years, regardless of how few miles the vehicle has been driven, and when it is not done on that type of schedule, the accumulated moisture in the fluid can lead to corrosion w/in the brake system.

And, on the same topic of maintenance, I REALLY hope that you have been changing the oil on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage. Since your car is apparently driven only ~3,000 miles per year, it needs to have the oil changed every six months, rather than waiting for…let’s say…5,000 miles or 6,000 miles to be accumulated on the odometer. If you are not doing this, then your engine is likely becoming clogged with damaging sludge.

Getting back to the brakes, whether the brake fluid was ever changed or not, it now needs to be changed as a result of the extremely high temperatures to which it was subjected by the seized brake caliper. I would suggest having the entire brake system inspected by a well-reputed mechanic, rather than going to a place that is advertising a “$99 brake special”. Have all of the calipers checked, as well as the brake pads, and have the brake hydraulic system flushed.


#3

I agree with the brake fluid flush, but I think your problem might be a colapsed brake hose to that right front caliper. With age the inside layer of hose can detereorate and a small piece act like a check valve. It allows the fluid to apply the brake, but when you take your foot off the brake the fluid is trapped and does not flow back…to release the brake.
A new hose on that wheel and a flush and bleed will probably cure the problem.

Yosemite


#4

Yosemite has given you another possible cause of the brake problem, but the root cause is likely the same, namely failure to change the brake fluid at least twice so far in the vehicle’s 8 year lifespan.


#5

Thank you for your input. My husband used to take care of this stuff but he is now a TBI totally disabled…so to answer your questions…not sure if brake fluid was ever replaced but I do have the oil changed every 6 months. I’m guessing I need a brake job so I shall call the local mechanic for an appointment. Thanks again.


#6

In addition to the brake job, a brake system flush with fresh fluid is a wise investment. You’re probably also going to need that new caliper and/or flex line everyone has been suggesting.

Sincere condolences on your husband’s illness.


#7

Thank you ‘the same mountainbike’ for your input too.