Your service brakes are self-adjusting. Refer to the scheduled maintenance guide for scheduled maintenance.
Occasional brake noise is normal and often does not indicate a performance concern with the vehicle's brake system. In normal operation, automotive brake systems may emit occasional or intermittent squeal or groan noises when the brakes are applied. Such noises are usually heard during the first few brake applications in the morning; however, they may be heard at any time while braking and can be aggravated by environmental conditions such as cold, heat, moisture, road dust, salt or mud. If a "metal-to-metal," "continuous grinding" or "continuous squeal" sound is present while braking, the brake linings may be worn-out and should be inspected by a qualified service technician.
If you are driving down a long or steep hill, shift to a lower gear.
Do not apply your brakes continuously, as they may overheat and become less effective.
Under normal operating conditions, brake dust may accumulate on the wheels. Some brake dust is inevitable as brakes wear and does not contribute to brake noise. The use of modern friction materials with emphasis on improved performance and environmental considerations can lead to more dust than in the past. Brake dust can be cleaned by weekly washing with soapy water and a soft sponge. Heavier deposits can be removed with Motorcraft Wheel and Tire Cleaner (ZC-37-A).
Anti-lock brake system (ABS) (if equipped)
On vehicles equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), a noise from the hydraulic pump motor and pulsation in the pedal may be observed during ABS braking events. Pedal pulsation coupled with noise while braking under panic conditions or on loose gravel, bumps, wet or snowy roads is normal and indicates proper functioning of the vehicle's anti-lock brake system. The ABS performs a self-check after you start the engine and begin to drive away. A brief mechanical noise may be heard during this test. This is normal. If a malfunction is found, the ABS warning light will come on. If the vehicle has continuous vibration or shudder in the steering wheel while braking, the vehicle should be inspected by a qualified service technician.
The ABS operates by detecting the onset of wheel lockup during brake applications and compensates for this tendency. The wheels are prevented from locking even when the brakes are firmly applied. The accompanying illustration depicts the advantage of an ABS equipped vehicle (on bottom) to a non-ABS equipped vehicle (on top) during hard braking with loss of front braking traction.
- In an emergency or when maximum efficiency from the four-wheel ABS is required, apply continuous force on the brake. The four wheel ABS will be activated immediately, thus allowing you to retain full steering control of your vehicle and, providing there is sufficient space, will enable you to avoid obstacles and bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.
- The anti-lock system does not reduce stopping distance. Always leave enough room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to stop.
- We recommend that you familiarize yourself with this braking technique. However, avoid taking any unnecessary risks.
ABS warning lamp
The warning lamp in the
instrument cluster momentarily illuminates when the ignition is turned to the ON position. If the light does not illuminate momentarily at start up, remains on or continues to flash, the ABS needs to be serviced.
With the ABS light on, the anti-lock brake system is disabled and normal braking is still effective unless the brake warning light also remains illuminated with parking brake released. (If your brake warning lamp illuminates, have your vehicle serviced immediately.)
Apply the parking brake whenever the vehicle is parked. To set the parking brake, pull the handle up as far as possible.
The BRAKE warning lamp in the instrument cluster illuminates and remains illuminated (when the ignition is turned ON) until the parking brake is released.
The parking brake is not recommended to stop a moving vehicle.
However, if the normal brakes fail, the parking brake can be used to stop your vehicle in an emergency. Since the parking brake applies only the rear brakes, the vehicle's stopping distance will increase greatly and the handling of your vehicle will be adversely affected.
Always set the parking brake fully and make sure that the gearshift is securely latched in P (Park) (automatic transaxle) or in 1 (First) (manual transaxle).
Push the button on the end of the parking brake and push the handle down as far as possible to release the brake. Driving with the parking brake on will cause the brakes to wear out quickly and reduce fuel economy.
Your vehicle is equipped with power steering. Power steering uses energy from the engine to decrease the driver's effort in steering the vehicle.
To prevent damage to the power steering pump:
- Never hold the steering wheel to the extreme right or the extreme left for more than a few seconds when the engine is running.
- Do not operate the vehicle with the power steering pump fluid level below the MIN mark on the reservoir.
If the power steering system breaks down (or if the engine is turned off), you can steer the vehicle manually, but it takes more effort.
If the steering wanders or pulls, check for:
- Underinflated tire(s) on any wheel(s)
- Uneven vehicle loading
- High crown in center of road
- High crosswinds
- Wheels out of alignment
- Loose or worn suspension components
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