Failing Brakes – Could You Be At Risk?
“Squeaky, screeching or grinding brakes. It is not just embarrassing, it could be dangerous. It could mean your car’s brakes need work and worse, your safety could be at risk.
With the amazing stopping force of disc brakes and the increasing number of cars that come equipped with factory four-wheel disc brakes, it is easy to neglect your car’s brakes way beyond their safest service life. The problem is, even though, your brakes are making some sounds, it may still stop ok. This could be dangerous.
So, if your car’s brakes are making these screeching or grinding sounds or other similar brake issues, check these common signs below to see if you need to take your car in for brake repair to a competent automotive mechanic.
As you drive around, notice how your total brake system performs, and ask yourself these questions:
- Does the vehicle travel too far before coming to a stop in city traffic? If it does, either your brakes need adjusting, or you need new brake linings.
- Does the vehicle pull to one side when you brake? On vehicles with front disc brakes, a stuck calliper and brake fluid leak can cause this problem.
- Does your brake pedal pulsate up and down when you stop in a non-emergency situation? A pulsating brake pedal is usually caused by excessive lateral run-out, which can happen because your brakes are overheating from overuse.
- Does your steering wheel shake when you brake? If it does and you have disc brakes, your front brake discs need to be professionally machined or replaced.
- Do you have squeaky brakes when you stop fairly short? The squealing is a high-pitched noise usually caused by vibration. Squealing can occur when the brake linings are worn and need replacement, the brake drum or disc needs to be machined, the front disc brake pads are loose or missing their anti-rattle clips, the hardware that attaches the brake callipers is worn, or inferior brake linings are in use.
- Do your brakes make a grinding noise that you can feel in the pedal? If so, stop driving immediately and have your vehicle towed to a brake repair shop. Further driving could damage the brake discs or drums. Grinding brakes are caused by excessively worn brake linings; when the lining wears off, the metal part of the brake pad or brake shoe contacts the brake disc or drum and can quickly ruin the most expensive mechanical parts of the brake system.
- Does your vehicle bounce up and down when you stop short? Your shock absorbers may need to be replaced.
- Do you see a rusty film on your front wheels? We have seen many cars with rusty looking dust on their front wheels and even a rusty spray on the front doors and fenders. This is caused by disc brakes that have completely worn the pads off and are now metal on metal. That rusty dust is actual iron and steel shaving that come out as sparks and can even embed into your paint. If you see this, get your car serviced immediately. Do not continue to drive your car in this unsafe state.
Never put off automotive brake work. If this check shows that you have a problem, take care of the situation immediately. If your brakes fail, you (and other people) may be in serious trouble. Other kinds of automotive trouble may keep your vehicle from moving, but brake trouble keeps it from stopping.”
All opinions expressed in this article are not the onus of the publisher nor supplier.