Found in most modern cars, a brake booster is a car component that increases the force of the brake pedals. Without it, even the simple act of stopping or slowing down a car would require you to exert a significant amount of force, which will, of course, lead to fatigue when driving.
Now, this isn’t to say that a brake booster applies brakes, but it does offer a helping hand. In other words, it assists a car driver by decreasing the effort required to brake the vehicle by boosting the force applied on the brake pedals.
Located between the master cylinder and the brake pedal, it’s an essential component of the braking system. If it malfunctions, you will have to get it repaired right away. To know the cost involved with brake booster replacement, keep reading.
What Is The Average Price Of Brake Booster Replacement?
How much will it cost you to replace the brake booster will primarily depend on the make and model of the vehicle you drive. That said, the amount ranges from $250 to $750. For the part (brake booster) itself, you can expect to spend anywhere between $150 to $550.
The labor will cost you around $100 to $200. Of course, the actual cost might differ a bit because it will depend on the labor rates of the shop you take it to. So, it’s a good idea to discuss the price with the shop you choose for repair.
If you feel that the quote is too high, be prepared to move on to another repair shop. As you might already know, some mechanics and car dealers cannot be trusted as they are money-minded and not quality-minded.
A repair job of this nature isn’t too complex. So, the cost shouldn’t run into thousands of dollars. The vast majority of the cars can be fixed for under $750.
Symptoms of Brake Booster Failure:
When the brake booster fails, you will find it unusually difficult to operate the brake pedal. Sometimes, the brake pedal will refuse to return to its original position. It will stay stuck to the ground. The fact that it’s not safe to drive the car in this condition, you should get the brake booster replaced as soon as possible.
Longer Stopping Distance
Your car will take much longer than usual to stop because your pedal won’t receive the necessary force to stop the car immediately, even when you press the pedal too hard. Obviously, this can be very dangerous during slippery weather or instances where you need to apply brakes on an immediate basis to prevent a car collision.
Hissing Sound/Engine Stall
A damaged brake booster can also produce a hissing sound that can be heard from under the dashboard. The hissing noise is caused due to the escaping vacuum, which can lead to decreased car performance. Keep in mind that you can have engine issues as well, due to a faulty brake booster. Your engine may stall each time you press the brake pedal.
How to Test the Brake Booster?
A brake booster is a sealed car component. So, it’s not very easy to inspect. Not to discount the fact that the newer cars out there have an advanced braking mechanism to them, which makes it difficult to detect whether or not if there is a problem with the brake booster.
That said, you can easily test the brake booster by following the steps given below:
- Start the car in neutral gear with the handbrake on
- Allow the car to sit idle for a while and turn it off
- Press the brake pedal about 4-6 times to get rid of the residual vacuum
- Start the car while keeping the pedal depressed with little pressure.
- If the brake booster is not working well, you will find it difficult to press the pedal (stiff braking). If it’s working fine, the pedal will go down a bit and then become firm.
What Causes the Brake Booster to Fail?
The brake booster doesn’t fail on its own since it’s nicely sealed to prevent liquids or vapors from escaping. It often fails due to holes and damages to the surrounding valves, hoses, and manifolds, which are pretty susceptible to wear and tear. Cracked or loose hoses allow air to enter into the braking system.
Therefore, the most common cause of brake booster failure is cited to be a lack of vacuum pressure. So, if you take your car to an auto repair shop, the mechanic will first inspect the hoses, valves, and manifolds to determine whether or not there is a need to replace the brake booster.
Important Pointer: Usually, a brake booster can last the lifetime of a car. However, it can malfunction in some cases, causing it to go bad, ultimately leading to a replacement. The only thing you can do to extend the life of the brake booster is to keep the area (where the brake booster is mounted) clear of debris. You should ensure that no water gets collected in the area.
Can you Continue Driving with a Faulty Brake Booster?
If you have noticed a problem with your brake booster, you should fix an appointment with a car mechanic at the earliest. After all, it’s not a safe affair to drive with a faulty brake booster. As a driver, you will feel the need to apply a lot more force than usual to operate the brake pedal.
All of a sudden, you will realize how difficult it is to stop or slow down the vehicle. In theory, you will have brakes.
However, you will feel as if there is something seriously wrong with your car’s braking system. Since this issue also extends the stopping distance, you can risk your life as well. Not to mention that driving with a defective brake booster can cause further damage to the car. This means that the repair cost will bump up if you ignore the issue for too long.
For instance, it can damage the master cylinder, which doesn’t come cheap. So, if there is any sign of your brake not functioning well, get it inspected by an expert.
Brake Booster Replacement Procedure Explained:
Depending on the braking system your car bears, the mechanic will diagnose the issue differently. For brake booster replacement, the mechanic will have to remove the master braking cylinder along with the booster vacuum and the hydraulic lines.
This will allow the mechanic to remove the brake booster. Once the old brake booster is out of the way, the new brake booster will be fitted in its place.
All the parts that were removed during the process will be reattached to complete the installation process. Needless to say, a mechanic will test the brakes before handing over the car to you. He will usually do a road test to ensure that everything is working as it should. From start to finish, the entire repair procedure will take about an hour or two.
Brake Booster Replacement Cost: How to Save Money?
Needless to say, you don’t want to play around with your braking system. After all, it’s not a trivial matter. In fact, it’s a matter of life and death. Therefore, only experienced folks should attempt a job of this nature on their own to save labor costs.
To save some money, you can compare prices from different auto repair shops in your area to shortlist a shop that provides the best rate.
Needless to say, the chosen shop must have a good reputation. You shouldn’t be looking to save money at the expense of inferior service. After all, it’s not worth risking your life. So, keep this thing in mind before making a decision. It’s in your best interest to allow an experienced car technician to carry out the work.
- What Is The Average Price Of Brake Booster Replacement?
- Symptoms of Brake Booster Failure:
- How to Test the Brake Booster?
- What Causes the Brake Booster to Fail?
- Can you Continue Driving with a Faulty Brake Booster?
- Brake Booster Replacement Procedure Explained:
- Brake Booster Replacement Cost: How to Save Money?