Hard braking causes car to fishtail, left front caliper locks up


Asked by Nov 16, 2015 at 05:36 PM about the 2003 Oldsmobile Alero GL

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2003 Oldsmobile Alero Front left (driver side) brake locks up on hard
braking, does most braking overall as shown by wear. When I replaced the
front pads and rotors a month ago, the front left caliper's piston was
extremely resistant to returning to it's bore even using a large C-clamp.
Today on a wet road I had to emergency brake, and the back end started
fishtailing while the left front locked up. I need to get this issue solved for
safety reasons, so first I need to know if it's more likely a caliper problem, or
proportioning valve, etc. The rubber brake hose to the caliper doesn't show
any wear, but it could be different inside. The rear brakes are barely worn,
almost like new and are a year old. I don't think they are getting much fluid
pressure. This car is a bit confusing as well as there are sensors at the
wheels like it has ABS, but it doesn't.

5 Answers


Bleed the brakes out and replace all the brake fluid which will help unstick brake caliper pistons. I am about 98% certain your car does have ABS but that it is not working. I would take it to a brake shop and have them diagnose your ABS system.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I'll try to bleed them tonight, I sprayed some penetrating oil on the bleeder screws earlier. Thanks!


If you can get it I recommend Castrol LMA, DOT 4 fluid.


If there was resistance pushing piston in you have a collapsed brake hose. Hose may look good on the out side but it is collapsing on the inside. Recommend replacing both at the same time.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks Firebird, I will replace the hoses since they are fairly cheap too. If that doesn't work I think it's time for a shop visit. Full of Regrets, My car is a 4 cylinder model with an optional V-6. It has the front discs and rear drums of the 4 cyl. car, and I checked my VIN with the (only) dealership in my area. No ABS. The wheel sensors are for the transmission I guess. What throws me off is that Edmunds website says my car has Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which to my knowledge is always a part of an ABS system.

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