Keeping your car’s braking system in tiptop conditions reduces the chances of having an accident. Unfortunately, even a properly maintained braking system can breakdown. The good thing is that there are always signs of an impending brake problem. But would you recognize these warning signs? The following are the telltale signs of impending brake failure.
1. Grinding noise when you hit the brakes
Grinding noise is probably the most common sign of a brake problem. It is a sign that your brake pads are worn out and are due for replacement. At this point, brakes are not performing effectively, and rotors are being destroyed every time you press the brake pedal. The grinding noise could also be a result of something stuck on the rotors. This could be the calipers or probably, more gravely, the metal components of the brake pads.
Either way, you should have your car’s brakes repaired or replaced. Check out https://shop.revologycars.com/collections/coyote-swap-braking-systems for the best brakes and brake parts.
If you notice high-pitched squeals every time you press the pedal, your brake pads could be wearing thin. Modern cars are equipped with wear indicators that come into contact with the rotors when braking. The high-pitched squeals could also be a sign of dust, rust or debris on the surface of the rotors. Get your brakes serviced immediately.
Vibrations on the brake pedal are a sign of warped rotors, which is a result of excessive heat or friction. Vibrations could also be due to poor steering alignment. Get your brakes checked by a professional. If you drive in brake-heaving conditions, like going down steep hills, you should have your brakes examined by a mechanic immediately.
4. Warning lights
There are two warning lights – the main system warning lights and the ABS (anti-lock braking system) lights. You should see your mechanic for a proper diagnosis if the ABS lights come on. It is valuable to note that the ABS components can fail, but the rest of the system continues to function normally. However, you should be more concerned when the main braking warning lights come on. Most likely, your car’s hydraulic system has failed and requires immediate attention.
In the case of hydraulic system failure, you can’t stop the car. Don’t panic. Try to remain calm and focused; otherwise, you won’t be able to do anything. In case the pedal goes to the floor, chances are that there is a broken line. Hit your brakes continuously. It increases pressure, which may allow the brakes to work again. If they still don’t work, you need to get off the road and downshift through the gears to slow the car. Note you should not apply the E-brakes unless you are driving at a very slow speed – below 30 mph. Swerve the car side by side slowly to reduce speed. Make hard turns once the speed has reduced to stop the car.
5. Reduced responsiveness
Reduced responsiveness is one of the first signs of impending brake failure. When you notice you are using more force than before to achieve the same result, there is a problem. It can be a sign of a leak somewhere, and this is extremely dangerous. There could be a leak in the brake lines, or the brake fluid could be leaking. Whatever the reason, you should have your car serviced immediately. Also, consider towing your car instead of driving it with reduced brake responsiveness. It is extremely dangerous, especially when driving at high speed.
6. Your car is pulling to one side when braking
If this happens, two things could be happening:
- Misaligned tires
- A foreign substance in brake fluid
When tires are misaligned, brake pads wear unevenly. The brake pads on the misaligned tires wear more quickly while other brake pads wear as they should. Since the braking pads on the misaligned tires are more worn, their braking efficiency reduces. The side with the properly aligned tires will slow down more quickly than the side with misaligned tires, hence the pulling effect. Additionally, if your car tends to ‘drift’ when you take your hands off the wheel, you are tires are most likely misaligned. If any of this happens, take your car for inspection and have your tires properly aligned.
A foreign substance in brake fluid
Foreign material in the brake fluid can affect the braking pressure and cause uneven braking. If you notice the pulling effect when you are braking but there is bo pulling effect when driving, chances are there is debris in the brake fluid, and you should consider replacing it.
7. Burning smell
If you notice a burning smell while driving, you could be in serious trouble. When brakes overheat, they produce a terrible smell and can imply that the brake pads are burning. The braking power is greatly reduced, and you should pull over for the brakes to cool.
8. Fluid leaks
The hydraulic system is complex, consisting of many brake lines running to various parts, especially in cars with ABS. A small leak in the master cylinder or any of these brake lines will result in the loss of air and fluid from the braking system. Brake fluid must be maintained at an adequate level. Otherwise, the braking system will fail. If you see a yellow or orange puddle that is oily, the brake fluid could be leaking. A leak is a sign of danger, and you should not drive your car if there is a leak, get it towed instead.
9. Thin pads
Inspect your brake pads regularly to see how they are wearing. If you notice the pads are less than 25% of their original thickness, it is time to replace them.
We all want to feel safe on the road. That’s why you need to pay attention to any signs of an imminent brake problem. You should also keep your braking system in tiptop conditions by taking you for inspection regularly.