Ever noticed that squealing sound when braking first thing in the morning? A little dew on your brakes is normal, a harmless noise that many of us experience. These noises can be intermittent and sometimes it is not clear when you have a genuine problem or not; in this instance you may want to visit your local auto mechanic.
Driving isn’t always perfect. Different noises and sensations can grab our attention and lead us to worry. But unless there’s a major issue it’s easy to ignore these problems sometimes.
How do you know when there really is a problem with your brakes?
Consistent squealing or grinding
Perhaps one of the most common problems you’ll experience. Brake pads are designed to squeak when they’re nearing the end of their lifespan. This early warning sign tells you that your brake pads are wearing and they’ll soon need replacing. You might also notice that your brake pedal presses down more easily, or feels spongy.
If your brake pads have worn completely you may hear a more noticeable grinding noise; this is the sound of metal on metal and can lead to irreversible damage.
These consistent noises should not be ignored and your brakes should be serviced as soon as possible.
Vibrating when braking
Vibration is a sign of warped rotors (the large metal disks visible behind the wheels of the car). Warping doesn’t mean that the rotors are no longer straight, but that their surface may be uneven and less effective. When you have warped rotors braking can become jittery (vibration) and less effective.
When the brake pedal is pressed down the rotors are what the brake pads press into. The rotors can get very hot depending on how often and how hard the brakes are used. It is this heat that can lead to warping.
Brake pedal is soft / spongy or hits the floor
If your brake pedal pushes down too easily you either have very worn brake pads, a brake fluid leak or air in your brake lines. Whatever the cause is this should not be ignored and our brake should be inspected by a local mechanic as soon as possible.
The car pulls to one side when braking
If you notice your vehicle pulling to the left or the right when you apply the brakes, it can be pretty troubling. In many cases this can be a simple fix, caused by brake pads which have worn unevenly. Brake pads are generally inexpensive to replace. Other possible causes for pulling include impurities in your brake fluid, or a brake cylinder that has become stuck.
If your vehicle is pulling it’s not only a considerable risk but very off-putting for the driver, take it to a repair shop as soon as possible.
Fluid leaks beneath your vehicle
All brakes need fluid to apply pressure to stop your vehicle, without brake fluid you’re within serious risk of an incident. Brake fluid can pool around your tires and appear as a clearish-brown color. If you’re not sure whether you have a brake fluid leak or not it is usually a good consideration to take your vehicle to a local mechanic.
It’s easy to take brakes for granted, and assume they’ll be ready to get us out of a sticky situation. Never be complacent with your brakes, they undergo a lot of use in their lifetimes and repair problems are inevitable. Noticing the signs of when that is is important for any driver.