How To Know When Slack Adjusters Are Bad

Slack adjusters are an important component of a vehicle’s braking system. They help to maintain proper tension on the brake cables, which in turn ensures that the brakes work properly. However, if the slack adjusters become damaged or worn out, it can lead to serious problems with the braking system.

Signs of Bad Slack Adjusters

  • Brake pedal feels spongy or soft
  • Brake pedal travels too far before engaging
  • Vehicle pulls to one side when braking
  • Brake lights stay on even when not braking
  • Unusual noises or vibrations when braking

How to Check Slack Adjusters

To check the slack adjusters, you’ll need a few tools and some basic knowledge of your vehicle’s braking system. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Locate the slack adjusters on your vehicle. They are usually located near the rear wheels.
  2. Remove the wheel cover and inspect the brake cables for any signs of damage or wear.
  3. Use a wrench to turn the slack adjuster nut until you feel resistance. This is the point where the brake cable is fully tensioned.
  4. Measure the distance between the nut and the frame of the vehicle. If it’s more than 1/2 inch, the slack adjusters may need to be replaced.

Replacing Slack Adjusters

If you determine that your slack adjusters need to be replaced, it’s important to do so as soon as possible. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Disconnect the brake cable from the slack adjuster.
  2. Remove the old slack adjuster and install a new one in its place.
  3. Reconnect the brake cable to the slack adjuster and tighten it down with a wrench.
  4. Test the brakes to ensure that they are working properly before driving the vehicle.


Slack adjusters play a crucial role in your vehicle’s braking system. By knowing how to spot signs of bad slack adjusters and how to check and replace them, you can help ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive.