Brake system failure is one of the most dangerous situations a driver can experience on the road. The brake system on your vehicle is highly complex, involving an extensive number of integrated components, all of which are subject to wear and eventual failure. Brake failure can have serious and deadly consequences, so it is important to be aware of, and responsive to, any indications of brake trouble.
Your car has many ways of letting you know that brake trouble may be ahead. By paying attention to these five indictors, you can have brake system issues addressed before they put the safety of you and your passengers at risk:
- Hearing Weird Noises
Hearing a high, screeching sound when you apply your brakes? It could mean that your brake pads need to be replaced.
- Pulling to One Side When Braking
Does the vehicle tend to pull to one side when you are braking? This could be an indication that the brake lining is wearing unevenly or that the brake fluid is contaminated.
- Brake Pedal Feels Strange
Does the brake pedal feel spongy or sink to the floor? There may be a leak in the braking system, possibly an air leak in the brake hose or a brake fluid leak. A brake pedal that feels hard or difficult to press may indicate a blockage in the brake line or an issue in the vacuum system.
- Excessive Vibration When Braking
Have you noticed excessive vibration in your brake pedal during breaking, similar to the vibration you feel when the anti-lock brakes feature engages? A vibration or pulsating brake pedal can be a symptom of warped rotors.
- Grabbing Sensation When Braking
Have you experienced a grabbing or jerking feeling when applying the brakes? This could be an indication that the rotor is unevenly worn or that the brake fluid is contaminated.
In addition to these indicators, the warning light on your dashboard will illuminate if your vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system senses any problems. Although sometimes these lights come on even when there is not a problem, you should always take your vehicle in and let your service technician inspect your brake system.