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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

‘88 Nissan Sentra, Soft Brake Pedal
Q: I own an ‘88 Nissan Sentra 2d hatchback with 107,000 miles. I give the car a regular tune up and it runs great. Just recently I noticed a problem with my brakes. Every time I apply the brake pedal it is spongy at first then, with a pump or two, it stiffens. What, if anything, can I do to correct the problem?

A: Your description indicates that the rear brakes may be out of adjustment or there is air in the system. Check the brake fluid level. If it’s low, top the reservoir off with fresh fluid. You need to know were that fluid went! Have the brakes inspected and repaired as needed. As for brake adjustment, the front disc brakes are self adjusting with each step of the brake pedal, and work well. The same cannot be said for rear brakes, which are drum type on your vehicle, and are suppose to be self adjusting. The problem is the mechanism for the self adjusters are notorious for not self adjusting. As the brakes wear, the distance from the braking material to the braking surface increases. As the driver you will notice that the brake pedal has to be pushed further to achieve braking. This is to make up for the greater distance between the brake shoes and braking surface. When the distance of travel becomes too great the brake pedal has to be pumped quickly to move enough brake fluid to engage the brake shoes to the braking surface. Inspection and proper brake adjustment should return the stopping ability of your vehicle.

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