brakes feel weak

Messages
888
Location
Chicago
So drove my maxima today, its been a while. Family members have been using it. I noticed that the brakes aren't working great, or it could be that i'm used to my G35's braking habits. While they stop the car i feel the bite isn't as great. Fluid is newer, about a year old. Front brakes have 60-75% pad life and rotors look great, i think they were last serviced 2-3 years ago. Rear brakes, well driver's side is low and need replacement. Rear pass is below 50% but not as bad as driver side. I'm assuming i'll be needed to replace the rear driver's caliper as well ( they are known to go bad often). They are screw in type with parking brakes built-in. So my question to you guys, assuming it 70% front brakes and 30% rear brakes, would just replacement of my rears give me a better feel overall? When i say feels weak, i mean, I hit the brakes and i'm expected to stop in about 10-12feet normally and i feel it stops at 15-17 feet. This is my perception anyways. It could be that i'm used to my car and i'm expected the same performance. I've had another person drive and say the same thing tho. Also, pads are Raybesto mid-level stuff, semi-metalics most likely.
 
Messages
488
Location
Ohio
theoretically brake pad thickness should not make your brakes feel different as long as they are with in a serviceable range, drum brakes and disk brakes should be self adjusting to compensate for wear. If you are having issues with your brakes feeling weak, it could be a bad caliper as you mentioned, I would look for 1 of 2 things.. is one brake pad worn significantly more on 1 side of the assembly compared to the other side? could be frozen hardware.. Also.. is one side of the car wearing out faster than the other? You said the driver side is lower than the passenger side.. sounds like a bad caliper for sure. In a properly working brake system, the passenger side and driver side should always wear at roughly the same rate.. Another thing to look for.. is air in the brake system, you mentioned the fluid was newer, I assume yourself, or someone else has opened the brake system to bleed the brakes.. Stopping distance can be either brakes, or tires.. but if the brake pedal has more than average travel or the pedal is mushy I definitely suspect brake hardware or air in the lines.
 
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Messages
415
Location
Slimy Mudhole
You need to make a better distinction on what are you describing, force or distance applied to the pedal. Apply the following tests. 1. Force. What slows you down are the tires and any brake system is designed to generate more force than the tires can handle. Test 1 is to make a panic stop if the tires lock or the ABS comes on then the friction part of the brakes is ok as it can generate more stopping power than the tires can handle. 2. Distance. Park your car and with the engine off apply several times the brake pedal to remove any vacuum assistance from the system. The pedal should be harder to press and the pedal will only move like half an inch or less with very little resistance. You can use your hand to feel this. 3. Hold pressure. Apply the brakes continuously with a medium effort for 5 to 10 minutes. If the pedal slowly goes to the floor then your you need a new master cylinder. Oil contaminated brake pads will prevent you from locking the wheels but the other two test will be normal Air in the system will make you fail test number 2 Worn brake lines will also fail test number 2. Check all rubber brake lines for crack or bulges under pressure. Leaking master or slave cylinders will fail test number 3 If all the test are OK then a broken vacuum line, clogged air filter of the brake booster or a worn brake booster will make you feel some squishyness on the brake system.
 
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Messages
1,555
Location
Oregon coast
Slowing down from 110mph, my brakes don't feel like they are doing much either, I HAVE to engine brake some. 4th gen Maxima brakes ARE weak. 5th and 6th Gen brakes bolt right on after drilling out the bolt holes in the torque members, I may do this next time as my rotors should be replaced anyway..
 
Messages
13,295
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Just a thought! You may just want to change out the pads(or lightly sand then) as they may have glazed over time. PLUS, a good brake bleed may be in order as well since you've just received the car back from family members. I senced, that the Centric Posi-Quiet Ceramic Pads(on 3 different cars) were a bit weaker in their "BITE" compared to some other ceramic pads that I've used before on those same 3 cars. When I changed them out on 2 of the cars thus far, the new ceramic pads(which happen to be...WearEver GOLD Ceramic) do infact have a better "BITE"! Yes, I blead the brake fluid as well which, I always do! smile
 
Messages
9,519
Location
Canuck - moved to Texas
Originally Posted By: Char Baby
Just a thought! You may just want to change out the pads(or lightly sand then) as they may have glazed over time. PLUS, a good brake bleed may be in order as well since you've just received the car back from family members.
Recently our Mazda 3 had that problem. My wife drives the car, but when I took it for a drive I noticed that the pedal traveled further down and the pads did not have the same bite at slow speeds (you had to press the pedal harder than usual). At higher speeds the braking performance seemed fine but the pedal travel was still greater. It turned out the inner pads were glazed. I had spare pads and just roughed the surface of the pads and rotors with 80 grit sandpaper. It's all back to normal now. But judging from OP, one of the real calipers is hanging up and may contribute to the overall difference in braking performance/feel.
 
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