Replacing A Brake Booster

replacing a brake boosterOne of the most important parts of a modern normal – especially from a safety point of view – you’re going to need to make sure that your hydraulic brake booster system is working exactly as it should all the time.

However, as most of us vehicle owners are well aware, sometimes our automobiles break down when we least expect or anticipate it. You’re going to need to make sure that your brakes are in perfect working order any time you operate your automobile, which usually involves replacing a brake booster system from time to time.

Here’s all of the “insider information” you need about tackling this kind of project or hiring it out to someone that you trust.

What is a hydraulic brake booster?

Your brake booster set up is essentially the “force multiplier” that allows you to stop a 4000+ pound automobile going 60 miles an hour or more on a dime without having the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.

Without this hydraulic system, we would all be stuck using manual brakes like the original automobiles used, and would never be able to stop or keep ourselves safe in emergency situations.

Because of this reason (and so many others) you need to make sure that you go about replacing a brake booster properly every single time you tackle the project.

How do I go about replacing a brake booster system?

Even though it is a super important component of your vehicle, it’s not all that difficult to go about replacing a brake booster system – if you know what you’re doing. If you’ve ever replaced your brakes, changed out your brake pads and calipers, or bled your brakes you’ll be able to replace the system on your own.

What you’re going to want to do is:

  • Find your brake booster (usually located next to the master cylinder)
  • Remove all mounting screws and brackets
  • Begin by removing the booster rod that goes through the vehicle firewall, the part that is attached to your brake pedal
  • Disconnect the vacuum brake line
  • Remove all bolts that link the booster system to the master cylinder and firewall
  • And wiggle of the brake booster system (breaking the seal) between the two

Once that’s done, you’ll want to reverse the process and install the new brake booster – always buy new, never salvaged, when it comes to this part – and you should be good to go! Just make sure you bleed your brakes before you hit the open road.

Should I just hire mechanics to replace my hydraulic brake booster system?

Obviously, if you aren’t feeling all that comfortable about the replacement process, you’re going to want: the experts to handle the replacing a brake booster process. It might end up running you $500 or so (or maybe even a bit less), but sometimes the peace of mind and confidence you get from having professionals tackle the prepare job is well worth the extra monetary investment that you will be required to make.


Hydraulic Brake Booster: What is it and how does it affect you

hydraulic brake boosterUnderstanding the hydraulic brake booster system in modern automobiles

Just like flying an airplane, they say that driving a vehicle isn’t so difficult – it’s slowing it down and stopping it on a dime that is the tricky part!

Thankfully, with the advent of modern braking technology (including the creation and implementation of hydraulic brake booster systems across almost all major automobiles today) the stopping part isn’t that difficult anymore.

In fact, advances in modern technology have helped heavier and heavier (and faster for sure) automobiles stop with a suddenness that almost is unbelievable – allowing you to maneuver and stay out of some pretty dangerous situations that you might not have been able to before.

The hydraulic brake booster system is going to play a large role in the safety features and breaking ability of your automobile, and it’s important that you understand how this system works – even if you never expect or anticipate working on it (or even finding it) on your vehicle!

What is the hydraulic brake booster system, anyways?

The easiest way to break down this particular braking system is to think of it as a hand pump with four different “types” that go to each wheel. Each time that you press the brake pedal in your vehicle, hydraulic fluid is pushed into the calipers of your brakes, which operate them and slow or stop your automobile.

When you release the foot brake the hydraulic fluid draws back into the system, thanks to the vacuum that is created when your foot leaves the brake pedal.

Why is it used in a modern day cars and trucks?

The reason that a hydraulic brake booster is used in modern automobiles (cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles alike) is because it is much more effective, much more efficient, and much more reliable than the traditional and “old school” mechanical brake set up.

This is especially true thanks to the fact that modern vehicles are getting heavier and heavier and traveling at much faster speeds than ever before, speeds that the vehicles equipped with mechanical brakes never ever would have been able to reach.

The hydraulic power multiplies your ability to slam on the brakes when necessary, and instead of relying on your own brute strength uses hydraulic physics to give you extra power when you need it most.

You’ll find that depressing the brake pedal is so simple and straightforward and nearly effortless, but when you really think about it without be hydraulic brake booster doing its job you did ever be able to stop a 4000+ pound automobile going 60 miles an hour without legs like the Incredible Hulk.

Hydraulic brake systems aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and we should all be thankful for that. In fact, almost all vehicles manufactured today – and a lot of classic restorations – come equipped with this kind of braking system, and it’s difficult to imagine any major manufacturer stepping away from the technology anytime soon.

Hopefully now you better understand the hydraulic brake booster system and how it helps to keep you (and everyone else on the road) safe and protected.


Brake Booster Troubleshooting

brake booster troubleshootingOf all the components on a vehicle, the brakes are certainly one of the most important  to keep in flawless condition. Many times, however, problems with a vehicle’s brakes can be traced back to the performance of the brake booster, a mechanism that uses vacuum from the engine’s intake to increase the force applied to the brakes. If you’ve ever noticed how difficult or ineffective pushing the brake is when the engine is turned off, you’ve seen the results of braking without the aid of a brake booster. Sometimes, however, you may notice the same problems even when the vehicle is in operation. In this scenario it is important to identify the issue and have it solved as quickly as possible.

Troubleshooting Brake Boosters 

One of the first steps in troubleshooting your brakes is to verify that there is indeed a problem with the brake booster and not some other component. If you notice that your brakes are suddenly rigid and difficult to push, it is very likely that you are experiencing faults with your brake booster. Still, other issues can be responsible for this problem as well. To verify that your brake booster is indeed defective, turn your car off and slowly push down on the brakes, continuing to push down on them as you turn the engine back on. A vehicle with a working brake booster will pull the pedal down a little on its own once the engine is turned on.

If the pedal remains stationary, it’s time to check if the vacuum system is working properly. Cracks and breaks in the hoses can lead to a loss of pressure and an ineffective brake booster. First, check the hose for any noticeable cracks, cuts or breaks and make sure that it is securely connected to both the engine and the brake booster. If there are no defects large enough to spot and the hose is firmly secured, remove the end that connects to the brake booster and start the engine, feeling the open end of the hose for adequate vacuum.

If no vacuum is felt, the issue lies in a constrained vacuum port. Cleaning this out and clearing it of any obstructions should solve the issue.

If there is vacuum on the hose and no cracks or breaks were identified, the problem is most likely within the brake booster itself. Attach the hose back to the brake booster and listen for leaking air. Any leaks at this point would most likely be due to a cracked booster. With the engine running, have someone else apply the brakes while you continue to listen for leaks in the vacuum. If the brake is still difficult to press, and you are certain that there are no leaks coming from the hose, the brake booster itself is defective and needs to be replaced. It would be wise, however, to have a shop verify that this is the case. There is a chance that there could be cracks in the hose that you might have missed, turning a relatively cheap fix into an expensive mistake if you purchase a new brake booster.