Understanding the signs of brake trouble is crucial to your safety. You rely on your automobile’s brakes more times than you realize every time you drive your car, truck, or utility vehicle. C & C Automotive lists the signs of brake problems below to ensure you know what to look for when you’re behind the wheel. We don’t ever want you in the dangerous situation of having no brakes.
1. Warning Light
Check your vehicle’s dashboard to see what warning lights you have for your brake system. There is an ABS light for the anti-lock brake system, the Brake light (which comes on when you set the parking brake), and you may also have a Low Brake Pad indicator light. If any of these come on while you’re driving and stopping, there’s a problem.
2. Brake Noises
The most common noises your brakes will make are grinding and squealing. Grinding brakes mean that you have no brake pad surface left. Squealing can mean that your brake pads are too low, you have no pad insulation, the rotors are not surface-cut properly, or your brakes are overheating. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t hear your brakes.
If you have no brake pads left, your vehicle will also wobble or vibrate when you try to stop it. You will find stopping is harder – you need more stopping distance – and you might feel as if you have to press down on the brake pedal more forcefully to get your car to stop. Vibration can also indicate warped rotors or a stuck caliper.
4. Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid is almost clear in some cases when it’s brand new. It might also be amber or light yellow or brown. As it ages, it darkens to a deeper brown. Brake fluid can also be red, so how can you tell that your brakes are leaking with all of these different colors? Brakes will leak behind your wheels. Spots on the garage floor around the wheels are brake fluid.
5. Brake Pedal
Changes in how your brake pedal feels also indicate brake trouble. It should give you the same resistance each time you use it and, if you have power brakes, it should stop about 1 1/2 inches from the floorboard. If the pedal feels spongy or gives way, you’ve got a brake problem that needs immediate attention, especially if it sinks to the floor.
If your vehicle pulls to the side when you apply the brakes, you may have a stuck caliper or problems with your tire pressure. Another cause of brake pulling is a broken or leaking brake hose. Your vehicle shouldn’t pull in any direction as you slow down and stop; it should brake straight.
7. Burning Smells
Finally, burning smells when you brake is definitely a sign that your brakes are overheating. Please understand that overheated brakes will fail eventually, so it’s important to pull over as soon as possible and stop driving your automobile. You might smell burning chemicals, cloth, or chemicals.
Call C & C Automotive in Augusta, West Augusta, Martinez, or Aiken County, GA, to schedule an appointment for a brake inspection right away if you suspect your brakes are going bad.