Chevrolet Cavalier: How to Check the Valve Brake Line


The valve brake line, commonly known as a brake proportioning valve, distributes hydraulic pressure to the brake system. It proportions brake pressure to the rear wheels to avoid a wheel lockup, which could result in losing control of the car. Chevy Cavaliers come equipped with a General Motors-style proportioning valve that runs to the front wheels and to the rear brake line union. These valves are reliable, but sometimes they can experience wear and become faulty. Because of this, it is important to check that the brake proportioning valve is performing properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Tube nut wrench
  • Rag
  • Pan for catching fluid
  • Locate the brake proportioning valve under the hood. On a Cavalier, it is located on the fender, adjacent to the firewall. You can identify it by the four brake lines connected to it. These go to the four wheels.

  • Check to see if there is any fluid that has leaked outside of the brake proportioning valve under the hood. If so, clean up the area thoroughly. Use your tube nut wrench to make sure that the nuts on the back of the proportioning valve are secure.

  • Check for leaks if no fluid is visible. Slide the pan under the car, directly beneath the brake proportioning valve. Unscrew each tube nut on the valve to loosen them up.

  • Get into the car and gently press on the brake. Look to see if any of the brake fluid has leaked into the pan. If there is brake fluid present, then the valve is distributing the fluid normally.

  • Examine to see if there is a disproportionate amount of fluid running between the front and back brakes. Fluid being distributed to the front brake should leak more quickly than fluid running to the rear brakes. Unfortunately, if there is more fluid being distributed to the rear than the front, then the proportionate valve needs to be replaced.

  • Remove all four of the brake lines attached to the brake proportionate valve. Remove the brake proportionate valve by unscrewing the two bolts in the back of the valve holding it in place. Install the new valve exactly as the old one was in place. Make sure the brake lines all attach to the same locations as on the previous valve.

  • Drive the car around your block or to the end of the driveway to test that you attached the brake proportionate valve properly. If problems still continue, take the Cavalier to a professional mechanic.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the brake proportioning valve becomes faulty and needs to be replaced, they commonly cost between $30 to $75 (as of 2011).
  • If you need to replace the brake proportioning valve, keep in mind that the "in" line goes to the master cylinder and the "out" line goes to the ABS.

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