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Hi all. My wife & I both have a Kia. She has a Rio & I, a Spectra. The other day while I’m out of town, she calls me in tears because while taking our daughter to the mall, her car’s brakes got real hard & refused to slow down. She pulled the parking brake to stop. She’s never had this problem as long as she’s owned the car. She bought it used about 3 yrs ago. It’s proven reliable, until this. I’m not very mechanically inclined with cars. So, would it be a leaking brake system or does she new brake pads? I’m hoping to avoid paying a mechanic a lot of $ just so he can tell me what I found out here. Once I get the info, then I can tell him what I need.
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L, 17 Ford Edge Sport 2.7L V6, 15 Mustang 3.7L V6, 08 Harley Nightrain
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Hi all. My wife & I both have a Kia. She has a Rio & I, a Spectra. The other day while I’m out of town, she calls me in tears because while taking our daughter to the mall, her car’s brakes got real hard & refused to slow down. She pulled the parking brake to stop. She’s never had this problem as long as she’s owned the car. She bought it used about 3 yrs ago. It’s proven reliable, until this. I’m not very mechanically inclined with cars. So, would it be a leaking brake system or does she new brake pads? I’m hoping to avoid paying a mechanic a lot of $ just so he can tell me what I found out here. Once I get the info, then I can tell him what I need.
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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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John, Your attitude in regards to your issue is not very good. This forum is designed to assist people in troubleshooting mechanical and electrical issues, not necessarily perfectly resolve them. We can lead you down a logic tree path to resolution, but at the end of the day it is the master mechanic who has her hands on your vehicle that will correct the issues.
Your brakes are the most important system in your vehicle!
That said, many different failure modes exist today with modern braking systems. ABS, StabiliTrak, Automatic Braking, Traction Control, Wheel Speed Sensors, all lunch off the same basic hydraulic braking system, so there is a lot going on.
How about providing some additional information about the vehicle itself? Miles, Year, Options, Maintenance performed, Driving conditions? Have you opened the hood and looked at the brake fluid level? You really need to get this vehicle to a professional. Your family's well being depends upon it!
 

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2002 Rio Cinco
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People over complicate brake systems. Yes, there are special systems that do special things, and they all fallback to basic braking when they fail. Your wife's failure is the basic system. You use your foot to push hydraulic fluid to the four corners of your car through skinny pipes.

Sudden failure feels like you have a small leak, finally ran out of fluid and started pushing air, or you have a sudden massive leak, and can't make any pressure in the brake system.

This is a pretty good run down of a basic brake job.
If you have a jack, a basic socket set, and a C clamp, you can do your own front brakes in about an hour.

Pop the hood, start at the brake fluid reservoir, and follow the skinny pipes that go to the four corners of your car. You're looking for a thin oil stuck somewhere. It can be followed to the leak. When you get to the corners, your looking for major damage like "this reinforced rubber hose is broken/is spraying fluid everywhere."

If you have no idea what you're doing, find a friend, or a friend of a friend that will look it over for a 12 pack or a steak dinner.
 
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