1988 Honda Accord Increase the Stopping Power of the Brakes

The 1988 Honda Accord was manufactured with front disk and rear drum brakes, both of which can deteriorate and lose stopping power. Several simple steps can increase the braking ability of the Accord, and any average backyard mechanic can complete them in a couple of hours.

Tools Used: Socket set, DOT-3 brake fluid (or DOT-4), Brake pads, Brake shoes, Drums, Wheel cylinders, Calipers, Larger rotors

Increase the Stopping Power of the Brakes

Replace the rotors with superior types, with a wider braking surface and higher heat dissipation. Larger rotors have the most braking performance for the cost, but several other parts may also require replacement to mount them properly. With the new rotor, improved ceramic brake pads and a heavy-duty caliper will maximize the rotor replacement. High-performance models will have slots or holes for air cooling and will probably come as a kit for total replacement. To replace the rotors, take the wheel off of the car by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise, then remove the caliper by rotating its rear mounted hex-head bolts counterclockwise; finally, pull the rotor free and replace it.

Bleed the brakes with fresh fluid by loosening the bleeder nipple on the back of the brake assembly (by turning it counterclockwise), then refilling the master cylinder as the fluid drains out. Pressing on the brake pedal will push out the old fluid, refreshing it with new fluid. Using DOT-4 will increase stopping power even more, because it is designed with a higher heat tolerance. Secure the nipple by turning it clockwise, then proceed to the next wheel and repeat the procedure until all four lines have been bled.

Replace the drums and shoes in the rear brakes, and check and replace the wheel cylinders located in the top of the brake assembly. The rear system is not as efficient as the front disks, which is why these drum brakes were phased out in the 1990s. The primary stopping ability of the rear brakes is controlled by the wheel cylinder, a small rubberized cylinder that acts like a "fluid capacitor" to keep pressure steady. When these cylinders leak, the power of the rear brakes evaporates. Unbolt the wheel, then unscrew the retainer for the drum. Pull the drum off, then release the springs inside to remove the shoes. The wheel cylinder comes out after you remove its screws in the rear of the brake assembly plate, toward the axle, and will require bleeding the lines after it is replaced.

Tips & Warnings

Collect and dispose of brake fluid at local auto parts stores.

Use safety equipment and precautions when working on a vehicle.

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