Possible puzzler

Here is a potential for you to edit, obfuscate, mix up and otherwise make it your own.

On a rainy Sunday morning, my daughter parked her 2003 Corolla in my driveway for a battery change, having had starting problems over the weekend. It had been a rainy weekend and was raining on the day she parked it. Later that week, I replaced her battery, checked to make sure it would start and was satisfied the job was done. On Thursday evening, I started the car to move it so I could put some things in the garage. When I let out the clutch in reverse, the car would not budge. She had had a transmission failure the previous month and was now the owner of a new clutch and transmission. I placed the car in first and still no movement. I worked the emergency brake several times, trying to make sure it was off. Still no movement on the next two trials. By this time, the clutch was burning. An hour later my daughter arrived, started the car, put it in gear, heard a clunk, and moved it out of the way.

What happened? I believe the brakes had rusted due to the rain and after repeated attempts, it finally broke loose. No problems since. This was the first time she had experienced this, but she drives the car daily, letting it sit for no more than a day or two at a time.

Hope you like the story.

What you believe to be true is, in fact, true. The pads rusted to the brake shoes, perhaps even the discs in front. Your comment about working teh parking brake to be sure it was off suggests that the car was parked with the parking brake engaged. If so, that fact would “clinch” the theory.

Brake discs and drums are all made of iron. They rust readily. Look at teh surface of your discs sometime when you’ve been shopping in the mall for the afternoon on a rainy day and you’ll see that they’re already rusting. This is normal. Leave brake pads pressed against them for days in the rain and the pads will rust to the surfaces. This too is normal. Once broken free, braking may be erratc for the first few times but everything should return to normal.

I have more good news. I’ve had a clutch so “smoked” during my teaching my son to drive a standard that it smelled like a tire fire, yet had it last until 295,000 miles. If properly driven, your daughter’s clutch may still be good for many miles to come.


 Why doesn't this happen all the time?  How does the water get to the brakes, and then between the pad and the shoe(?) or disk?

 I've had several cars stored outdoors that I drove once or twice a month over the past 20 years, and this never happened to me.  Why not?  I always used the parking brake.  I'm calling bogus on your answer.

Normally, one expects brake pads and shoes to be made of material that is not going to rust to the braking surface. I suppose that this particular vehicle might have some unfortunate combination of brake and pad/shoe material that allowed the two to adhere. But, mighten’t it be more likely that the parking brake cable rusted itself into place while the car was sitting and eventually released after sufficient time sitting under tension and a bit of abuse?

We had 1 little pickup truck at work that would rust its brakes like the story you tell consistently. It is the only one that ever had that problem. It was surprising how fast it could happen, sometimes only a day or 2, and how much power it would take to break the brakes loose.

I always recomend 1 aggressive stop per day preferably on the way home. This dries out the brakes and decreases the problems expecialy on the rear