When your brakes lock up does your car continue straight on, or does the tail move about in a frisky fashion?
If the tail is moving around too much then you probably have some sort of brake bias issue.
If the car seems to goes straight on then it could be that your rear brakes aren't working as well as they should be - but its much more likely that you are just applying the brakes too suddenly for the available grip.
Even if the rear brakes weren't actually working at all you should be able to stop in a controlled manner in a straight line in the wet, the tendancy to go staright on might be an issue when braking on a corner though
Obviously check your tyres pressures are correct, very high pressures remove lots of grip in the wet.
Assuming the sprint doesn't have ABS the most important thing is to smoothly and progressively apply the brakes in the wet that way when the lock up happens you just ease up the pressure slightly and smoothly
and the full braking effect is restored once the wheels start rotating again.
Its impossible to do this safely if you just jump on the brake, you will immediately lock the brakes and slide.
BTW "smoothly and progressively" doesn't mean really slowly, just try taking 3/4 of a second or so to find the optimal braking point. Practice makes perfect.
I would definitely recommend practicing braking in the wet on an empty wide road, from pretty low speed. You will see how the minute you relax the pressure enough on the brake pedal that the brakes start working again after the intial lock up.
You won't wear the tyres or brakes practicing this in the wet since the available grip is so low.
BTW Having better tyres will give you better braking for sure but if you just "mash the pedal" the best tyres in the world will just lock up without ABS and you lose a huge amount of braking effectiveness.
Also I would get the brakes checked out anyway by a professional given your nasty experiences, unless you are really sure they were self inflicited after reading this.
Hope this helped!
Originally Posted by SprintQV
I have a bit of an issue with the brake setup on my Sprint(s). I've had two accidents now because of it with my old Sprint which was written off, and a pair of near misses on my new one.
The problem is with locking up under hard braking. Now I'm by no means an experienced or trained driver, and my first Sprint was only my second car. What happens is I'm going downhill (or maybe the road is just more slippery than usual) and I see something that needs fast braking (e.g. pedestrian appears on pedestrian crossing -- now happened twice!!
) so I mash the brake and all wheels lock up, so I just slide helplessly for a bit, back off and swerve instead.
Maybe I need better tyres? They aren't the best brand, but theres about 5mm tread at the centres and wearing down a bit around the corners. Any particular type/brand of tyre I should get?
Being a young alfisti, I drive rather spritely at times, and this problem has now been bothering me greatly. Would it be right to conclude that this car should only be driven more sedately and carefully? It is after all, a rather light FF car... I can't fault the brakes, they're doing their job right? I didn't have such a problem with my last car, a Daihatsu, which was a similar setup, maybe less wide tyres.
I'm looking for advice from more experienced folk. Maybe I need to go somewhere and practice my braking technique, find where the lock-up point is. The problem seems to be that that point varies depending on surface and incline. Where am I going to go to practice these things?