Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

99 Camry Brakes Went Out

A few hours ago my friend was getting off the interstate driving a 99’ Toyota Camry. She went to use the brakes and they had no effect. They did not go all the way to the floor and she says there was a lack of pressure/resistance , then a grabbing feeling before the floor but no effect and no sounds. She had to use the emergency brake. It was 14 degrees last night and above 32 today. The brakes worked from the house to the interstate, then did not.It has been towed and so far the mechanics say they can’t find anything wrong. Any ideas? Thanks.

I would bet the Master Cylinder is bad and needs replacement.

Hello knfenimore, I will ask the mechanics about that. Thanks!

Concur w/above comment, sounds like a defective master cylinder or there’s a brake fluid leak and while at first there was fluid, enough later leaked out that the brakes stopped working. One other possibility would be some part or another froze due to the cold, but that would be unlikely at 14-32 degrees. I wxpect this will turn out to be a broken master cylinder or a failed brake line or connector. Has this car been used w/snow chains recently? That could be a cause of a broken brake line.

Is it possible there was something under the brake pedal like a snow brush. pop bottle, purse or even a foot?

I think it is obvious that lower temperatures would make brake fluid shrink. An extremely low fluid level in a master cylinder might gulp a bit of air when it is extremely cold, causing the brakes to act like there is air in the line (which would be true), but would seem OK when examined by a mechanic in a heated shop.

In other words, the master cylinder could be OK and still get the phenomenon temporarily.