Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Sticky Brake

Hi All,

Recently i found my cars brake padel get sticky after Ive applied the brakes from time to time. But nothing servere. My routine schedule maintenance will be coming up soon, so i am just wondering what could be the probable cause. Could it be the brake fluid? Thx.

Please, Make, model, year, mileage and define “sticky”

You mean you push on the brake pedal but it doesn’t return on its own, or returns more slowly than it used to, right? It could be a problem with a caliper or the brake master cylinder or the ABS unit, but try this first. With a flashlight, look up under the dash area, see if a spring has come loose from the brake pedal or there’s something there inhibiting the movement.

Thanks for your responses.

My car is a 2011 BMW 328i Coupe, currently at 24K mi.

You are correct, what I meant by sticky is exactly what you’ve described. I checked under the dash and I don’t see anything inhabiting the movement of the pedal. However my certified maintenance (Brake Fluid) is schedule to come up soon and therefore I am wondering if the problem could be the brake fluid itself or should I be expecting something more severe. Thanks!

One more thing, I noticed there are some rust on the rear brake plates. Could this cause the problem too? Thanks for your help, I am no expert on this and I am kind of clueless.

A little rust on the brake pad backing plate isn’t unusual. I doubt that is the cause. The forces which cause the brake pedal to return to its nominal position after you press it down are a combination of

  • Springs in the master cylinder
  • Hydraulic fluid forces equilibrating in the caliper piston
  • Sometimes there is a return spring on the brake pedal too

Your mechanic will just have to go through those one by one. The first thing to check is that the master cylinder fluid is clean and at the correct range. Beyond that, most likely causes would be a spring broken in the MC, one of the MC pistons is sticking, a caliper piston is sticking, a flexible brake hose is collapsing, or something’s wrong with the ABS.

It’s important you get this looked at asap. From what you say, there’s definitely something wrong w/your brakes. When a car doesn’t stop correctly, that’s something that can be very dangerous.

Thank you so much for the information. I’ll definitely get it checked out ASAP, much appreciated.