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Old 01-09-2014, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Extreme cold weather and brake function

My 2003 Taurus sedan was fine on Sunday. On Monday it got really cold - 5 to 7 with wind chill below 0 and stayed that way until Wednesday. On Tuesday I warmed the car for 10 minutes to get ice off and then drove 2-1/2 miles to my doctor's. I was there maybe 70-90 minutes. When I came out, I did not rewarm the car, but just proceeded to start it and go. The ABS light came on and stayed on and the brakes were mushy. I had to stand on them to stop. I crept home slowly and prayed it was something caused by the extreme cold. By the time I drove the short distance home, I noted a slight pull to the right. Can calipers freeze? I am terrified I will be taken advantage of by local mechanics and more terrified to drive it any distance. Can extreme cold affect the ABS system and the function of the brakes? Right now it is just parked and I thought I would see if things improve on Saturday when it is supposed to be 52 degrees. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Nancy
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If the problem goes away in warm weather, brake line flush may help?
How does freezing weather affect car brakes
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Is it possible for you to check for brake fluid leaking from your brake calipers and cylinders usually on inside of rims, tires. It sounds like a caliper or master cylinder seals have contracted and failed (old) Check left front first if it is pulling to the right on brake application. First check your brake fluid level in reservoir.

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Old 01-09-2014, 08:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can you check the fluid or have someone check it for you and get back to us? That would help us help you.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Taking it to the mechanic on Tuesday - no time until then. It is so odd how it was fine when it was parked, and then it was not. I had a brake line rust once from three Maine winters and it happened gradually, not all of a sudden like this. I will write back when mechanic sees it. I was hoping for an easy answer but guess that is not the case. I am not as good around cars as I was when I had my 71 Mach I (but then I am not as good in general as I was way back then............)
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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LOL, none of us are. It is more common for a line to manifest quickly. Have you checked the fluid level?
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am not sure I even know how to check the fluid anymore. If you tell me how, I can go out to the parking lot and do it. (Live in an apartment). My '71 Mach I was so problem free. I guess I wish my cars since were the same. I still am a Ford devotee however.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am going to take it to the garage tomorrow to have the fluid level checked. Wish it had done it while I was still at home. Here's hoping it is not major. The old budget won't like it. Thanks for your help. I will post when I get back from garage tomorrow.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The brake reservoir is on the firewall on the drivers side. It is opaque plastic with a screw on cover. Do you have an owners manual? With a slight pull to the right it is possible the left line or flex hose is leaking
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Brake fluid reservoir is empty. Car is being towed on Monday. The concensus seems to be that the brake line is shot. Great. Just what I need. Thanks for all your help.
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