Signs of the Brake System Malfunctioning in Your Carby admin April 15, 2020
Your brakes are integral in the functioning of your vehicle. Like all mechanical parts, they have an expected lifespan, at the end of which they will need to be replaced. As they fill a critical role for your vehicle and are absolutely essential for your own safety, when it’s time for your brakes to be replaced, you should do so as soon as you recognize the signs of excess wear and tear or abnormal failure.
Common Signs Your Brakes are Failing
Brake Warning Light
If the brake light on your dashboard illuminates, it’s important to have this checked out by a mechanic. First, however, check that your parking brake isn’t engaged, as this can also cause a dashboard brake light to illuminate.
If you notice that your car exhibits high-pitched noises when braking, such as squeaking or squealing, this is an indication that your brake pad wear indicators are contacting the rotor, which produces the unpleasant sound. These are built in to let you know it’s time to replace your brakes before your rotor itself is damaged.
If your brakes produce a grinding, lower-pitched noise when applied, this can be due to gravel or small debris caught in the caliper unit, which can easily be removed. However, if the sound is more of metal-on-metal grinding, this could mean that your brake pads are worn completely through and your rotor is taking a beating.
Vibrations, Wobbles, or Scrapes
Brake rotors are the big disks inside your wheels. When you brake, the brake pads are applied to the rotor, which is what slows and stops your vehicle. If your rotors aren’t completely even and smooth within the thickness of about three sheets of paper, this can cause wobbles and vibrations when braking.
If you notice that your vehicle makes motions when braking that it didn’t before, this is an indication there is something amiss in your braking system. Shaking or vibration in the steering wheel or other areas of the vehicle might be the result of a worn-down or uneven rotor.
Rough braking can also be due to the brake caliper improperly releasing. The brake caliper squeezes your brake pads against the rotors to slow your vehicle. If the piston by which the brake caliper is pushed to the brake pad gets sticky, due to long-term heat exposure or road debris, the caliper may not fully retract when you release the brake pedal.
Bumpy braking can also be caused by damage to the braking system due to improper lug nut installation. If your lug nuts are not properly torqued (tightened in a specific manner) when tires are rotated or replaced, it’s possible for uneven driving to cause uneven wear on the rotor, which will cause rough braking and result in a necessary trip to the mechanic.
Soft Brake Pedal
If you notice that your brake pedal feels “soft” or immediately hits the floor when you press it, your vehicle needs immediate service. Automatic and manual vehicles alike have a stopping point an inch or more from the floor, depending on your model. If your brake pedal ever touches the floor, this is an indication you are lacking pressure in your brake system. This can be air or moisture in your master cylinder, which creates power for your brakes, or it can be something much more serious, such as a severe brake fluid leak.
Car Pulls to One Side
If your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, this can be due to a bad brake hose or bad calipers, which will need to be replaced.
If you notice a sharp odor after braking, this is an indication of overheated clutch or brakes. If this is the case, pull over and let your brakes cool, as driving while hot will put your car at risk for brake failure. If there is smoke coming from one of your wheels, call a tow truck or mechanic immediately, as your vehicle is no longer safe to drive.
McIlvain Motors Can Help
If your vehicle is experiencing any signs of brake failure, it’s important to immediately bring your car to McIlvain Motors for inspection by our certified mechanics, as failed brakes can result in a nasty fender-bender or an unnecessary collision.
McIlvain Motors of Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, AZ works hard to make sure every vehicle owner has a positive experience during servicing. We offer the lowest labor rate in the state of Arizona, free Uber pickup and dropoff, and a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty on all services and repairs to make sure every driver experiences the comfort, luxury, and attention they deserve.