When Do You Need to Check the Brakes of Your Car

A vehicle’s brake should always be in good condition. If not maintained and inspected properly, it can result in catastrophic events. Here I’ll share some common symptoms of faulty brakes.

Brake warning lamp stays on

The warning light for brake in the dashboard staying lit even after releasing your parking brake means there is something wrong with your brake. A low brake fluid level is the most common reason, which you can fill it by yourself by referring to your car’s user manual. If the brake fluid level still goes down after refilling means that there is some leak somewhere in the brake line and needs to be inspected. It might be inside the brakes in your wheel and sometimes some components might need to get replaced.

Presence of brake fluid on the floor

Brake fluids of most of the cars in the market are reddish in color. All the brake lines are usually tightly closed. If you find any brake fluid near the wheels or on the floor where you parked the car, it obviously is the symptom of some leak. This might be from the lines or wheel cylinder, which can only be found by the detailed inspection of a service technician.

Grinding noise while braking

A grinding noise from the wheels while braking means that there is a high probability that your brake pads are worn out. The parts of the caliper are rubbing against the brake discs or rotor causing the noise. Further driving can ruin the rotors and can even result in brake failure. A worn-out rotor can also cause a grinding noise.

Brake pedal feels spongy/hard/too soft

Any difference in resistance of the brake pedals needs to be immediately inspected. Most of the cars use hydraulic brakes, and presence of air bubbles in the brake lines, failing calipers or wheel cylinders can make the brake pedal feel soft when you hit it. Brakes use a booster cylinder which uses vacuum to reduce the amount of effort we need to apply. Any problem with the booster can result in harder pedals. Spongy brake pedals also mean the presence of air bubbles in the line.

Vibration or wobbling when braking

Wobbling or vibration of brake pedals or the steering wheel is the symptom of uneven wear of rotors. The rotors need to have a smooth surface with uniform thickness. Any tiniest changes in the rotors can cause these problems. If you haven’t driven the car for a long time, then rotors can easily get corroded. It can be polished in a lathe workshop and needs to be replaced only in worst conditions. Rotors are a bit expensive. In some cases, improper working of caliper pistons can also cause these symptoms.

Burning smell when driving

This actually is a symptom for a lot of cases like vehicle overheating, clutch burning, etc. As in cases of brakes, first, check if you have released the handbrake before driving. If you have, then check for any smoke coming from any of the wheels as the brake might be jammed. In this condition, it is better to inspect the brakes before driving any further.

Pulling to one side while braking

This means that either one of your front brakes is working perfectly while the other is having some sort of issues. The caliper might be stuck, or there might be some problem with the brake fluid flow. It can cause uneven wear of brake pads or premature damaging of other components if not repaired. However, this can only be noticed if you are going at a higher speed and hence, can even cause an accident.


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