Loss of power assist to brakes - one-time only

The other day I start my car in the garage. Backing out I know the brakes aren’t working normally. Testing in the driveway confirms that there is no power assist to the brakes. The engine is idling properly and there is no CEL or dash brake light lit, but there is non-power braking only. So I put the car back planning to work on it later.

Some two days later I start the car for testing and the brakes are back to normal. I have the usual power assist. There are no other problems.

Before I take this car on the road I would like some advice. Anyone ever have a similar problem? What to test? What might be at fault? Where to start?

The only possibility I can think of that could malfunction in that manner would be the check valve where the engine vacuum enters the booster.

I was thinking about the check valve too. What kind of temps are we talking about?

Temperature was cool but well above freezing. Should it matter?

Nope. Cig might have been wondering of some moisture got in there and iced up. It was a good thought.

What kind of car is this?

mountainbike reads minds too. His talents never cease to amaze me! :wink: Although, things do generally stiffen up when they’re cool so I suppose the check valve still could have stuck some without any ice. A stretch maybe? But what else is there besides the booster? And if the booster line itself had a problem the car would have run like crap or not at all.

Great minds tink alike.

I suppose it would not be too impudent to ask;
exactly what symptoms suggested that the booster wasn’t boosting?
did you use your parking brake that evening?

C’mon, we all know the dreaded feeling of the power booster not working. No, I hadn’t used the p-brake overnight. I applied it when returning to the garage to bring the car to a full stop, since tromping on the brake pedal wasn’t doing all that much. Puzzling, isn’t it?

The second generation Neon had a problem (Recall 983) with the brake booster vacuum hose becoming soft from intake manifold vapors, become loose and fall off or collapse and block vacuum.

Sorry Steve, I didn’t notice it was you.

Sounds like Nevada might get the prize on this one.

He knows! Give that man a blue ribbon!

The car is a 1st generation Neon, the one I bought on eBay a few years ago for $810 and turned into a very reliable daily driver. Thanks, Nevada. I will give that hose a good inspection. I will report back tomorrow.

I would like to change my answer. The defective hose material applies to the 2000 model year. A failed vacuum hose is unlikely on the early Neons. I believe the problem is inside the booster. What year is this car?

It’s a 1995. Has 240k miles and is running strong.

So I checked all hoses and fittings, then took the car out for a road test. All systems were normal.

If the problem is at all temperature-dependent, we will have to wait a week. The weather report for my region in the sunny South is for mild temperatures throughout the week.