How to make brakes brake with less pressure?


Not sure where the OP is, but most states require that the installation and use of hand controls require a Dr’s prescription, passing a driving test using the hand controls then getting an endorsement on their license that limits them to only driving cars with hand controls.


It’s not about making it stiffer, it’s about what pedal pressure you need to apply for the similar braking force, so replacing brake pads will indeed help Matt.

I own 2012 Nissan Altima and 2006 Nissan Pathfinder.
Transitioning between these two is always a little bit of a challenge, as Pathy’s brake pedal has longer pedal travel, but the force I have to apply used to be comparable while Altima was on OEM brake pads.
I replaced pads to some high-performance ceramics, and every time getting into Altima I would initially over-apply the brakes, as they reacted with substantially more braking force for the similar pedal force.
Later, these pads developed an annoying high-frequency screeching sound, so I went with stock semi-metallics, it immediately made my transition from Pathfinder into Altima much easier: same force on the pedal resulting in more or less the same braking force.

IMHO, going with high-performance pads will indeed help Matt.


Even if someone were to guess correctly what brand that does not mean the recent ones of that brand will match exactly . Besides things to assemble vehicles have parts supplied by several different manufactures.


The way I’m reading his question, just pressing on the pedal at all hurts. Ideally the pedal would have almost no resistance. Putting new pads on isn’t going to make that happen. Reducing pressure-to-braking-performance ratios by 10% or so isn’t going to be enough.


I’ve read his message as “it hurts in my car, but in Subaru it does not as it takes much less pressure to apply”.
Unfortunately, “brake by wire” with direct brain signals is not on the market yet, so the next best options would be to have “grabby brakes” or hand-controls as pointed above…


I guess Matt could always buy his friends Subaru.


yeh, did not think of this solution :slight_smile:

in the same time, while shopping for a vehicle back in 2011, I found that Honda Accord seats would give me back-pain and leg-pain, while I would not have it in [my current] Altima or Subaru Outback.

Shopping for a car for my wife last year, I’ve also noticed how uncomfortable seats were in Civic and CR-V/

so, indeed, replacing the vehicle with a careful consideration to vehicle seating ergonomics may give the best result, good catch @VOLVO_V70!


If the car were to be replaced, one of those hybrids with that one-pedal driving feature would probably be worth serious consideration.


That’s available on EVs, maybe some plug in hybrids.


I thought he wanted “grabbier brakes”, for lack of a better term. Less pedal pressure required to stop.


Even at that what if he has to really hit the brake pedal in a hurry to avoid a crash. Will the ankle pain cause a problem. Also about 7 months ago he had a thread asking about left foot accelerator conversion.

I almost think selling the vehicle and using Uber or something like that might be best.


I don’t have a problem hitting the brakes hard if I need to stop suddenly.


I’d suggest that you find a mechanic that can run a pressure bleed of your brake system and a bleed cycle of the ABS. I think you will find the brakes easier to use after that.


Today I emptied what brake fluid I could with a turkey baster and refilled with fresh fluid. I noticed their was sludge or sediment in the brake fluid reservoir, and I removed most of it. I noticed a big improvement to the brakes afterwards, much less effort to press them and almost no pain. At this point is it worth it to pay $100 to have the brakes flushed? Will I notice any more difference? Also I am not sure what you mean by a bleed cycle of the ABS, is that done in a standard brake flush? And is a pressure bleed different than a usual brake flush?


If just doing that helped, then I would definitely have either a good independent shop or the dealer flush the brakes.


If you are doing this yourself, start with a gravity bleed or two man procedure. If your brakes still don’t work, then either have someone pressure bleed it or buy a cheap pressure bleeder off Amazon. Sometimes an air bubble can get into a part of the brake line where the two man system just keeps moving it back and forth and never gets it out completely. A pressure bleed will do the trick.

If you still have problems, then take it so someone who has the diagnostic equipment to cycle the ABS pumps and valves to bleed the ABS module. There is a relatively cheap diagnostic scanner that will do this on Amazon as well, but for a one time use, having it done could be cheaper.


I probably won’t be able to do it myself right now. If I take it in to a mechanic should I insist on a pressure brake bleed or would a brake flush also get all the air bubbles out?


I doubt there’ much that can be practically done. At least not cheaply. But it might help to lightly sand the rotor and pad surfaces to deglaze and rough up the surfaces a bit. While doing that the shop could check to make sure nothing is getting on those surfaces that shouldn’t be, like from an oil leak, cv boot grease from a damaged cv boot, brake fluid leak etc…


I would suspect that a good brake shop would use a pressure bleeder. A professional power bleeder costs more than the one at Amazon, but if used daily, it would be cheaper than paying a mechanic to step on brakes all day long. A small shop that only does brakes occasionally may not have a power bleeder. You’ll have to ask around.

@George_San_Jose1 also brings up some good points. Some pad materials require more force than others and if the rotors or pads are contaminated, that will also require more force. Your best bet would be to find an independent shop that specializes in brakes to evaluate your system and make recommendations. Remember, we cannot see your brakes through the internet unless you want to post a lot of pictures. Even then, it’s easy to miss something.


Bing when you do your left foot braking do you keep your foot on the brake while driving or keep it to the left of the brake and move your leg over each time you want to brake?