Car maintenance is more than simply showing up for scheduled appointments. You should also pay attention to any warnings your car may give you.
One area that demands your full attention is your car’s braking system. A faulty system can cause a lot of damage to your car and put you and your passengers at unnecessary risk.
Thankfully, most braking systems rarely go bad at the drop of a hat. The components will show symptoms of going bad before they finally stop working. These symptoms will show up as braking problems.
Some of these problems require minor fixes, and you can postpone them until your next scheduled maintenance. Other issues need urgent attention if you want to drive safely in your car.
This guide will discuss the common brake problems drivers should not ignore and how to deal with them.
What are the 5 common brake problems?
1. Unresponsive brake pedal
If your brake pedal doesn’t respond when you step on it, or if it feels soft and squishy, then you have serious problems with your hands. We recommend you stop driving at once and get a mechanic to examine your brakes.
In most cases, your brake pedal becomes soft and unresponsive when a braking system leaks. The leaking could be coming from the master cylinder. So the first thing you want to check is your brake fluid. You can get a mechanic to check it or do it yourself. Your car owner’s manual should include instructions on checking your brake fluid.
The master cylinder could be faulty internally or externally. The problem might be internal if you have a complete brake fluid reservoir and can’t find any sign of a leak. However, if you find fluid under your dash, you deal with external leakage.
If your master cylinder is faulty, you have to replace it. Any other option is simply courting an accident to happen.
2. One-sided pulls when braking
Generally speaking, you should not drive a car that pulls to one side. However, the problem becomes dangerous when your braking system causes the pulls. This braking problem has many possible causes. It could be from your tire or a frozen caliper.
Many drivers do not detect a frozen caliper until it is too late. The caliper freezes up when its piston gets stuck in its bore. The only way to fix this is to replace the caliper.
A faulty master cylinder can cause your car to pull to one side when braking. It is rare for a master cylinder to cause your car to pull to one side, but it does happen. Most cars have a diagonal braking design as a safety precaution. This means the right front and left rear brakes work together, and so do the left front and right rear brakes. If one part of the system becomes faulty due to a leak, it will affect one rear brake and one front brake. If you are experiencing this, you must replace the faulty part.
Faulty tires could also cause one-sided pulls, especially if the tires are unevenly worn. This mostly happens with bad front tires, so you should regularly inspect your tires. If this is the case, you need to replace your tires or rotate the front tires to the rear.
3. Shaky steering wheel when braking
There are many reasons why your steering wheel shakes when you apply the brakes. It could be because the front rotors are faulty, either due to pad impressions or excessive heat. A pad impression happens when your rotor rusts on all sides except for the patch of rotor surface where the pads rest. The result of pad impression is brake pulsation.
This type of brake pulsation is very easy to fix. You can choose the cheaper option of having your rotors resurfaced or the more expensive option of replacing them. However, resurfacing is only good when your rotors are still very thick. Check your rotor for the “minimum spec” for thickness, then measure your router with a vernier caliper or a micrometer to determine whether resurfacing is a viable option or not.
4. Brake pulsation
If your brake pedal pulses up and down each time you apply the brakes, then you need to resurface the rotors or replace them.
It is common for your rotors to lose their shape or trueness. Those who are hard on their brakes should always keep an eye on their rotors.
5. The whole Car Shakes
If your car shakes when braking; your first instinct should be to check your rear brakes. Generally speaking, if your steering wheel shakes while braking, the car’s front end is the problem. If the whole car shakes, the problem is from the rear.
However, you must confirm that the rear brakes are the cause of the shaking. To do this, you need to test your rear brakes in isolation.
You can test your rear brakes by applying the parking brake while driving at low speeds. (Make sure you do this test in a remote location with no human or vehicular traffic around). Your rear brakes need attention if the car shakes while applying the parking brakes.
If your vehicle uses rear disc brakes, this test will not work. You have to take your car to a mechanic for an inspection.
Need a Brake Pad Replacement or Brake Repair Service? Our Brake Services Are Here For You
When it comes time to replace brake pads or look into brake rotors, remember that our team can conduct a thorough brake inspection and check into the matter.
Whether we have had to deal with replacement brake pads, brake repairs, brake lines, or brake pads and rotors, we have always been rigorous in our process to obtain the best results.
There are various aspects to consider when looking at brake repair for your brake pads or other parts of your brake system. Whether looking at brake pad issues or general brake service, remember that our team can help.
Find out how our Heaths Airport Auto team can help you with your brake pad material, brake fluid exchange, work brake pads, or general brake job.