Automotive

Seized rear brakes?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2020 1:46 pm
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5106 posts
1456 upvotes
Toronto

Seized rear brakes?

Have a car that hasn't been moved for 2-3 weeks. Was just trying to drive it today and it was completely stuck. Seems the rear wheels won't turn even an inch, despite stepping on the gas a bit. Tried both going forward and reverse, same deal not moving an inch. In reverse, stepping on gas actually lifted the rear-end of the car/suspension a bit, as the rear wheels won't spin while the front wheel drive pushed back.

Is that just seized brakes or any other possible explanation?
34 replies
Sr. Member
Sep 25, 2018
714 posts
1330 upvotes
Did you release the handbrake? The handbrake is usually on the rear.
Deal Addict
Mar 30, 2010
2872 posts
1176 upvotes
GTA
Rear brakes are more likely to rust than the fronts, and thus get seized up
Not strange at all
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5106 posts
1456 upvotes
Toronto
AlicW93740 wrote: Did you release the handbrake? The handbrake is usually on the rear.
Havo wrote: +1 for handbrake. It could have seized as well.
Yeah dude, def released the handbrake :) In fact I tried setting it back and re-release a few times just to make sure.
That was my first thought as well, I'm just surprised how firm the wheels are stuck. Normally, even with hand-brakes on, you'd still be able to move the car if step on the gas.

Any issue to stepping on the gas hard to try to break free? I'm just a bit worry about the rear suspension, how it got lifted up vertically from the horizontal backward motion.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35526 posts
21579 upvotes
Center of Universe
boyohboy wrote: Yeah dude, def released the handbrake :) In fact I tried setting it back and re-release a few times just to make sure.
That was my first thought as well, I'm just surprised how firm the wheels are stuck. Normally, even with hand-brakes on, you'd still be able to move the car if step on the gas.

Any issue to stepping on the gas hard to try to break free?
I'm just a bit worry about the rear suspension, how it got lifted up vertically from the horizontal backward motion.
Go for it.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 5, 2013
5810 posts
2958 upvotes
keenland
boyohboy wrote: Yeah dude, def released the handbrake :) In fact I tried setting it back and re-release a few times just to make sure.
That was my first thought as well, I'm just surprised how firm the wheels are stuck. Normally, even with hand-brakes on, you'd still be able to move the car if step on the gas.

Any issue to stepping on the gas hard to try to break free? I'm just a bit worry about the rear suspension, how it got lifted up vertically from the horizontal backward motion.
if its a drum brake..a few whacks with a hammer will do it
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5106 posts
1456 upvotes
Toronto
cardguy wrote: if its a drum brake..a few whacks with a hammer will do it
Disc break tho... can still mallet it, maybe on the disc?
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
4081 posts
4213 upvotes
GTA
Smash the affected wheel(s) with a big block of wood, or log.

The shock will unstick the brake.
Deal Expert
Jan 15, 2006
15908 posts
13748 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Just mash the gas till it breaks free. Rust has seized the disc to the pads.
Sr. Member
Jun 14, 2009
566 posts
73 upvotes
Toronto
derass wrote: Smash the affected wheel(s) with a big block of wood, or log.

The shock will unstick the brake.
Smash the wheels? Really??? (Not being sarcastic, wouldn't it break / dentbyour rim by smashing it hard w/a block of wood?
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35526 posts
21579 upvotes
Center of Universe
eilrach wrote: Smash the wheels? Really??? (Not being sarcastic, wouldn't it break / dentbyour rim by smashing it hard w/a block of wood?
Hit the tire not the alloy wheel.
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
4081 posts
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GTA
eilrach wrote: Smash the wheels? Really??? (Not being sarcastic, wouldn't it break / dentbyour rim by smashing it hard w/a block of wood?
Nah. It won't break or dent the wheel. Maybe just scuff it. You're more likely to shatter the cast iron brake disc if you're hammering on that directly.

This technique is a last ditch effort anyways. If the brake is seized so badly that trying to drive the car back and forth isn't loosening it, you have a couple choices: get it towed, replace the brakes in place, or smash it loose to be able to move (and then maybe replace the brakes).

Just gotta feel it out when you're doing it. Light taps aren't gonna do anything. Just snack it hard enough to shock it loose.

Last time I had to do this, the rear brakes were super seized, and I had to smash on it quite a bit with a big log.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15984 posts
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Oakville
This is why you should move the car at least once a week.
What car is it?
I would just give it some gas until it releases or the wheels spin. If that doesn't work, you'll have to disassemble the brakes to release it by prying the pads off.
Sr. Member
Jun 14, 2009
566 posts
73 upvotes
Toronto
derass wrote: Nah. It won't break or dent the wheel. Maybe just scuff it. You're more likely to shatter the cast iron brake disc if you're hammering on that directly.

This technique is a last ditch effort anyways. If the brake is seized so badly that trying to drive the car back and forth isn't loosening it, you have a couple choices: get it towed, replace the brakes in place, or smash it loose to be able to move (and then maybe replace the brakes).

Just gotta feel it out when you're doing it. Light taps aren't gonna do anything. Just snack it hard enough to shock it loose.

Last time I had to do this, the rear brakes were super seized, and I had to smash on it quite a bit with a big log.
Ah ok, thanks... I thought I'd ask since I drive a 10yr old vehicle and have only driven twice since mid March - at leasti don't hv to post in rfd if such a thing happens lol
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 14, 2006
4368 posts
774 upvotes
could be seized rear calipers, happened to our Honda Accord.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
16469 posts
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Vancouver, BC
Jack up the rear and try to spin the tires by hand. Unless you have a rear or a fulltime all-wheel drive, both wheels should spin freely. For the side (on the rare case both) that doesn't spin freely, remove the tire and inspect the brakes.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5106 posts
1456 upvotes
Toronto
derass wrote: Nah. It won't break or dent the wheel. Maybe just scuff it. You're more likely to shatter the cast iron brake disc if you're hammering on that directly.

This technique is a last ditch effort anyways. If the brake is seized so badly that trying to drive the car back and forth isn't loosening it, you have a couple choices: get it towed, replace the brakes in place, or smash it loose to be able to move (and then maybe replace the brakes).

Just gotta feel it out when you're doing it. Light taps aren't gonna do anything. Just snack it hard enough to shock it loose.

Last time I had to do this, the rear brakes were super seized, and I had to smash on it quite a bit with a big log.
craftsman wrote: Jack up the rear and try to spin the tires by hand. Unless you have a rear or a fulltime all-wheel drive, both wheels should spin freely. For the side (on the rare case both) that doesn't spin freely, remove the tire and inspect the brakes.
Thanks guys & all. I'll give these a try. Not in a hurry to get it moving, have another car.

Did just received the Torin jack from Costco this afternoon, right on time for this and can finally ditch the scissor jack,
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
21860 posts
2677 upvotes
Don't start whacking on the rotor, caliper or tire without a jackstand. It can be surprisingly easy to push a car off a jack.
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1447 posts
416 upvotes
Toronto
Had the same thing after my car sitting for a week during the pandemic. Mine at least moved...so I took 45 mins to drive it 8km to the dealership. It was new brake pads and rotors for me...

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