Jump to content

Brakes Activating getting stuck sticking on their own! HELP


Recommended Posts

At first I thought it was my imagination but after it began happening over and over again I realized it wasn't a dream.


My brakes are being activated on their own.

Either that or they are getting stuck after I press lightly on them.


Car has about 54k miles (2006 Spec B) and I've never had a brake issue before. NEVER.


Car has ran perfect until just recently.

Saturday I called Subaru and they were slammed could not bring the car by. THere goes the weekend.


Monday and Tuesday I was out of town on business.

Wed is christmas eve! I can't get it in the shop soon enough so I am hoping someone has some ideas.


I have no idea where to start and I spent some time searching the forum with no luck.


More on the symptoms:


Car feels like it doesn't want to go.

Usually if you push the clutch and let the car coast it will move freely for several feet. Once I know the brakes have enganged automatically if I let it coast it comes to a stop shortly after.


Working in first gear with the brakes engaged makes it tough to get started. (Obviously)


IF I'm on the freeway traveling at high speeds the steering wheel starts to shake (as if you were pushing on the brakes) because the "KAR" has engaged the brakes automaticlally.


One of the more noticeable things that I feel when the brakes have engaged is that the pedal feels like a rock.

It has no give and no travel.


That is a dead giveaway.


As soon as the brakes release and car drives normally I get the full pedal travel back and it feels squishy again like normal. :)



I have found a way to try and stop this when it does happen.


I know this is crazy.. but if I lift up on the brake either by reaching down and pulling or putting my foot under the brake and lifting up I can usually get the brakes to release for a few minutes.


This is HORRIBLE..... I have NEVER heard of ANY car ever doing this.


How is this possible. WHat is causing the problem?






HELP... let me know if you need more explanation... I just can't believe it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you need to rebuild the calipers. Maybe the piston or slide pins are sticking.

Only way to tell for sure would be to pull one of them off, have someone push on the brake pedal and check it. The calipers are easy to remove if you have a jack, jack stands and some tools.


If you look at my thread in the brakes forum http://www.legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102549


It shows with pictures how to remove the caliper. Its only two bolts. Pretty easy. You could then see what may be causing the brakes to not return after braking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I just left the Subaru dealership and I feal absolutely sick.

I need some help from some of you who have any experience with this kind of situation.


I have no reason to believe this dealership to be anything but honest and helpful.


I drove down to the dealership where I purchased the car nearly 3 years ago.


I explained the weird situation where the brakes would actually stay enganged and I could feel that they were activated after my foot had released the pedal.


They agreed it was strange and wasn't something they see.


Well several hours later they gave me an update.

They explained it looked like the Brake Fluid was contaminated.

They said a brake flush should take care of it.


With the intial inspection costing $55 and the Brake Flush $116 it was a little more than I wanted to spend. I asked if they could do something on the $55 inspection fee and they said after they were done we could probaly knock some of that off.


I was feeling pretty good. I knew that out of all the major work the brake flush was ONE thing I had not done yet and so it was due for a flush and bleed.


I have already flushed the engine coolant, front and rear diff along with manual tranny. I've also installed uppipe, downpipe, catback so I am somewhat familiar with the car.


When I first bought the car the power steering seemed a little low.

Next time I was near the dealer I bought the subaru power steering fluid which is also ATF fluid as it is labeled. I topped off the power steering with just a drop of that stuff and its been fine ever since.


I never had any issues with brakes. It never leaked. I never had to put any brake fluid in the car. I never bought any brake fluid or used any generic brake fluid from other cars I've had.


I keep excellent records of every single receipt and thing that the car has ever had.

The only times I have ever handed over the keys was at the Subaru dealership for the fan relay recall a few years back and America's Tire Company where I have the tires balanced and rotated every 5k or so.


I know I would NEVER put anything but Subaru Brake Fluid in there if it needed it but I know it never needed it and I never put anything in it.


I thought the color was more yellow but didn't really inspect it before I took the car in today. They are telling me that it is pinkish in color which does happen to be the color of the power steering fluid. They said it also smelled really funny.


They told me the car was not safe to drive and they shuttled me home.

Subaru of America was closed and will be closed tomorrow on new years.

I am freaking out and feeling very sick!


What do I do?


They told me that after the brake flush was complete the symptoms of the brake sticking did not go away.


They said that the entire brake system needs to be replaced.

Everything that the fluid touched.

Master Cylinder, All Hoses, Gaskets, anything Rubber, All the calipers, EVERYTHING.


Total comes to just about $2,200. They said it would be much more but they are only charging me half price for the labor.


parts alone are 1700.


I have a 100k warranty but they said it won't be covered because it was contanimanted brake fluid. They said it seems like someone added the wrong fluid to top it off.


What do I do?


How do I fight this?


Should I ask to drive it anyways and see how it feels after the flush?

Should I ask to take it to another place?


I just can't believe this.


They told me they will call Subaru on Friday and get back to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could evaluate it from a lowest part/component cost basis first, for example the calipers could be rebuilt with new seals and check/test drive the braking, from there maybe replace the master cylinder (not sure if it's rebuildable) and recheck/test drive. For brake lines, just put on stainless lines (~$120). That should cover it other than being sure that plenty of new fluid has been flushed through the system at each wheel to clear any contaminated fluid. Any of this can be done at just about any reputable shop that you trust, but I am with you - $2200 and replacing everything is BS.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What components consist of the ABS? They didn't mention anything about that.


I am really trying to remember if there is any way the fluid could have been contaminated.


Even at worst it could have been topped off. But who? When?

Would a top off have been enough to damage the entire system and all components.


I have no idea when this could have occurred. I have very detailed records and only two place have ever touched th keys. Subaru and the tire shop.


I then asked what the chances were that the fluid was wrong from the factory.

They said problems like this show symptoms very quickly. Within the first thousand miles or so. I'm trying to think back the last month or two and I really have nothing.

I've never purchased any brake fluid or needed any brake fluid for this vehicle.


Its never gone low.


I will wait to hear what they have to say on Friday.


I'm not convinced that they are 100% accurate on the assesment and I'm not going to spend 2200 to see if they were right and it cures all problems.


But if replacing everything DOES fix the problem we don't know if it was everything or one component in particular.


Thanks for the reminder. In the deep depression of the looming 2,200 bill I had forgotten about stainless brake lines. I guess now would be a great time for that mod!


I was wanting to do HPS Hawk pads and drilled or vented rotors but those are the two items that are not "contaminated."


Although after having the brakes sticking at high speeds the rotors could be warped and pads could be worn.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a very odd assessment. You could also perhaps take a sample of the fluid and send it to get tested. Blackstone Labs might be able to do it. If anything they can analyze and tell you if there are certain contaminants in there. Maybe give them a call.


Brake fluid definitely should not be pink though.


I also agree with rebuilding the calipers first and flushing the old fluid out. Rebuild kit should be $15 a corner and 1hr labor per corner.


If you wanna replace everything, including the rotors and pads, you could upgrade by getting out Performance Brake Kit (PBK)with brand new Wilwood calipers, brackets, pads, lines, fluid and rotors for $1299.

Free Sonax Cleaner Deal


Carbotech, Hawk, PFC, DBA Rotors, Motul, Wilwood, Castrol...

Great service. No bumping required :icon_tong!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Magnetic,


Thanks for the advice. I think there are two problems.

One, I didn't inspect my brake fluid before I dropped the car off. I would never have expected to be accused of contaminating the fluid but since I didn't look over the fluid I don't know what it looked like when I dropped it off.


Secondly, when they came out and gave me the $2,200 run down they explained how after flushing the system it didn't get better.

So I assume that means all the fluid that was in there is now gone.


I don't know how well they tested the car after the flush. Did they drive it around until the brake pedal stuck? Or what exactly did they do?


Lastly, I agree if I'm going to shell out some serious cash might as well do a brake upgrade kit. However, that price of 1299 doesn't include the other compoments that might be "contimanted" like the master cylinder which is what I think is probably the main cause of the issue if not a particular caliper. I don't think everything would have failed at once even if there was a problem with the fluid but what do I know.


Again, I never put any fluid in the brake system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At 55,000 miles can I tell myself rebuilding the calipers isn't a complete waste?


That woudl make me feel better.


Also, what about getting completely NEW calipers?

Is that going to be WAY more expensive than the rebuild route?


Reason I ask is that new calipers will probably be the 07 version or newer which come painted silver instead of the bare metal that rusts over night.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

of course I have to ask this question....


will replacing just the calipers result in the calipers getting contaminated again since the other components will stil lhave a film of the old fluid on them?


I wonder if the dealership will point to this as the reason for me to repalce everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have never replaced the brake fluid, they would void the warranty since the brake fluid is supposed to be replaced at 30K.


Which dealer are you at? I'm guessing Autowest since you are in Roseville? You could take it to DB Tuned which is only up the street from Autowest if you need a second opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I did think about that.

It was the only thing I didn't do on the schdedule.

I went into the dealership at 30k or 40k and had them quote me on all the major work... it was like 800 bucks.

I went home and did it all for under 200 myself except for the brakes which I didn't touch.


They are messy and I had planned on just having those done...everything else was pretty easy.


Then this issue which I don't think was caused by not changign the fluid... they are saying it was caused by having the wrong fluid in there. Weird.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How did you know I was in Roseville?

No I am not at autowest.


But I have heard of DB Tuned. Is that on Taylor Road?


If they know brakes I woudl definately consider stopping by.

Hard to believe that everything in the entire system needs to be replaced but I also find it hard to believe that Subaru would jerk me around like this. I know sales are down but they wouldn't try somethign like this just for the revenue.... would they?

Besides do they think I'm actually going to fork out 2,200 bucks?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Magnetic,


Is your web site the brake swap?

I was trying to find the 1299 kit to check out the details on it.


Would a company like DB Tuned do the labor on this or would they insist I buy parts from them?


I know some companies won't deal with parts from other sources.


I don't feel like spending a week in the cold wet garage on my back.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mentioned you were in Roseville on the MTB thread.


Which dealer are you at?


DB Tuned is off of Taylor. They would have to order the parts since they don't keep anything in stock. I think they usually order the parts from Maita for OEM stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm dealing with Maita right now.

They have been great for parts and accessories.

They did a quick job on the fan relay but never needed to use them for major repair work yet so I can't say how they've been with repairs.


I think this might sadly end the relationship between my entire family and Subaru.

My sister and father both purchased Subaru's on my recomendation and my wife is getting ready to look at a new vehicle very soon.


What good is a warranty if it never covers anything?

I'm thinking about heading down to the dealer and picking up my busted car and asking them for the money back that I paid them for the 100k mile warranty.

Good luck huh?


Then I coudl use that towards fixing whatever is really broken.


THis is insane.


I just spoke to the dealer on the phone.

They told me they claled Subaru of America and explained the situation.

Subaru said they would not cover it under warranty and that my comprehensive auto insurance might cover it.

What a joke!


So my insurance rates get jacked up or I get dropped and they might cover the 2,200 bill that Subaru so desperately wants to collect.


They are missing the bigger picture where they will looose a VERY loayal top quality customer who buys only their top end models.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never had any problems with Maita and they have done all the major work on my car. Will be bringing it in there in about a week to have my 120K service done.


You will get the same outcome with any other car company when dealing with warranties. Unless you follow their service exactly and use their dealers, they will always put up a fight. You'll need to contact Subaru yourself since the dealer can only do so much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks for the info.

I wish I could say the same about the dealer. I really wanted to like Maita.

I thought the sales process was good when compared to the last few experiences I've had. I know the parts guy by name and they were always good to me on pricing since I have spent a few bucks there.


The service department was quick on the fan relay recall. I was the fisrt car to bring it in for that recall and I even brought the tech service bulletin from Subaru so there would be no confusion as to what the problem was.


They had it done in 45 minutes. (After they ordered the parts.)


I even had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts in the car for the guys in the back.


They even warrantied my spec b floor mats when they unraveled after a few weeks of use.


I never needed any repair work and I did ALL the service EXACTLY as described except for the brake fluid.


Of course they want my money even though I already bought their highest priced sedan. But they can't punish me for doing my own maint.

I just wish that when you spend the EXTRA money on the warranty they would honor it.


This is where my second opinion will help.


If it was contaminated who caused it?


They said somethign else was poured in there.

It wasn't the brake fluid.


If they had just blamed the brake problem on old fluid I couldn't argue with that...but they didn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...



I have driven the car for two weeks since the brake flush and have had ZERO brake problems.


My best guess is that the fluid was OLD or BAD and that the brake flush fixed the problem.


So since subaru told me I needed to replace everything at a cost of $2,200.

Were they trying to get my money? (Scam me)

Or did they make a mistake. (Don't know what's going on with my brakes.)


In my opinion it must be one of those situations.


And if that's the case how can I go back there in the future?

I'm afraid I may need to find a new dealer for dealer related issues in the future.


Again, I do 90% of my own service.


Also, check out my other thread here concerning the other item that is NOT covered under warranty



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I hear ya.


I may consider replacing some parts anyways but not everything and not the master cylinder.


At 55k miles and with the good use the rotors had while my car wasn't behaving properly the rotors will probably need replacing.


Now since I am not using the dealer and brakes are not something I am sure I want to tackle I will probably be looking for a reputable place to have rotors and pads installed.


Also, how long should my OEM calipers last until they should be replaced or rebuilt?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use