Brake problems are the worst to experience because they are often life-threatening. So, it is important to know when your car’s brake is beginning to fail and tackle the failing part head-on. There are many ways brakes fail in modern vehicles – most commonly, brakes wear out or get broken physically.
When brakes start to fail, you will begin to experience certain signs and symptoms while driving, but not all drivers understand these signs. This article lists and explains the most common brake problems and solutions you should know as a driver or car owner. If you start noticing these signs, reach out to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Common Brake Problems and Solutions
1. Brake Fade
Not many drivers know that brakes can “fade.” Brake Fade results from the building-up of heat at the brake discs or drums. This situation typically occurs when the driver doesn’t use the brakes carefully – rough brake usage cause brake fading. For example, if a driver constantly matches the brakes hard all the time he/she wants to reduce speed, brake fading could occur sooner.
To avoid brake fading, some vehicles come with ventilated brake discs to allow more ventilation and reduce the possibility of “Brake Fade” occurring sooner. So, to put it simply, brake fade occurs due to aggressive driving; it is one of the most common brake issues with performance cars that speed so fast. Brake fade can be mechanical, friction-based, or due to fluid levels.
Since brake fade happens on the disc or drum, fixing it means to replace the faulty brake disc or drum. Also, if you’re an aggressive driver, you’d need to reduce how hard you match down the brake pedal when trying to slow down your car. Replacing the disc or drum or your car’s brake may cost up to $1,200 or more, depending on the car’s make and model.
2. Squeaking Sounds While Driving
When brakes start to fail, one of the commonest signs you’d get is squeaking sounds while driving. This means that when you match the brake pedal, you’d hear an unusual “squeaking” noise coming from the hood side. In most cases, the noise is due to bad rotors or pads; the squeaking noise may increase when driving at low-speed levels.
When you start hearing this annoying sound, it is very important to get the brakes checked and fixed because if you keep driving with such bad brakes, more expensive damage will occur – the braking system may fail completely. A squealing sound can also be a sign of badly aligned wheels.
Check the brake rotors, pads, and discs, and repair any one of them that has gone bad already. Also, poor lubrication can cause squealing/squeaking brakes, so check the brake fluid and gauge it properly. Furthermore, look out for dirt and moisture in the brake assembly and remove such contaminants.
3. Leaking Brake Fluid
Notice that the brake fluid leaks from underneath your car? That’s a clear sign that the brakes on your car are faulty and need urgent attention. It could be that the brake calipers are broken, or the discs have a crack somewhere – allowing the brake fluids to leak away. Leaking brake fluids will affect the brakes’ response when the pedal is matched.
Check the brake hoses for leaky spots and also check the brake lines – try bleeding the brakes to clear the brake lines and properly inspect for leaks. If one or more brake component is broken, replace the part.
4. Brake Judder
Brake juddering is another common problem faced by a driver, and it is caused by a wide variety of causes, including distorted discs, out-of-shape drums, worn-out pads, or bad brake liners. You’d easily notice brake juddering when driving at top speeds and then match the brake pedal – “judder” is that sharp, violent shake you feel when you match the brake pedals. In most cases, this is caused by an “out of place” brake drum or friction in the brake linkage.
Mainly, you’d need to replace the brake liners, drums, or discs, because these are the main components that may cause juddering at any speed level. But, of course, before you replace them, you must confirm that they are damaged. Sometimes, they may just be loose, so you only need to fasten them back.
5. Uncommonly Soft/Hard Brake Pedal
The brake pedal isn’t supposed to be hard to press down, but when it’s too soft (unlike usual), then there is a higher chance that one or more components in the assembly are loose and need to be tightened back.
Too much air in the brake lines can equally cause the brake pedal to feel unusually hard. Moreover, it is important to note that if the brake fluid is too hot, it could cause either of these scenarios. Finally, worn-out brake pedals could be the reason for the “too easy” brake pedals.
Check if the brake pedal is worn out, then replace it with a new one. If there’s air in the brake lines, bleed out the air. Also, inspect the brake assembly for loose components and have them tighten up.
6. Car Pulls to One Side When Braking
This is one of the most annoying brake problems anyone can face while driving. It is not only very annoying but also dangerous if you’re on a busy road. Well, this particular problem can be caused by quite several reasons, including misaligned tires and frozen brake calipers. The catch here is the frozen brake caliper.
As you keep driving every day, the caliper will freeze over time due to quite many reasons too. A frozen caliper is a serious issue because it could cause the brakes to not function. One of the common reasons why brake calipers freeze is due to broken caliper slide pins. The best solution here will be to replace the caliper.
If the reason for the car to pull to one side while braking is due to a frozen or broken caliper, then the only repair is to replace the caliper. Sadly, you can’t actually fix a broken caliper; you need a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Two Signs Of Faulty Brakes?
The two commonest signs of faulty brakes are squealing sounds when braking and juddering/shakes when applying brakes. Other notable brake problems will most likely show up one of these two signs too.
Can You Drive Faulty Brakes?
It is NEVER advisable to drive with faulty brakes because it is a big dreadful action that could lead to a serious accident. Once you notice that your car’s brake is not responding, stop accelerating and let the car gradually reduce its speed to a low level, then find a safe spot to park and inspect what caused the brake failure.
How Do I Know If My Brakes Need Repairing?
When you start noticing these signs explained in this article, they are a clear notification that you should check on your car’s brake assembly and possibly have one or more of the components replaced. You can also set up a routine interval at which you go for brake servicing and adjustments. Ignoring brake failure signs will cost you more money when the brakes finally fail.