Read our tips on how to spot small problems in your car’s brakes before they become big problems
Several studies in the past have proven that brake failure is a leading cause of road accidents globally!
The reasons for brake failure include; continuous overloading, overheating, leaking hydraulic liquid, your general neglect and so on.
Thankfully, brakes begging for servicing would give off strong warning signals before completely parking up. Unfortunately, most people ignore these signs until it’s too late.
Here are common signs of damaged brakes:
- Sluggish Response When You Brake
Does braking feel like a headache for your car? If slowing down at the exact time you expect is a problem for your brakes then the culprit may be the drips from hydraulic juice.
The hydraulic liquid powers the braking arrangement and a shortage of it lead to free padding that is not powerful enough to create pressure during braking.
Thus scenarios that require fast actions such as; avoiding collision with a vehicle or avoiding hitting people may not be possible since braking is sluggish.
- Odor from Burning Chemicals
Another sign of a faulty or damaged brake is a pungent burning odor while you drive. People perceive different variations of burning odor depending on the source of the burning. Strong chemical odor while stepping on the brakes, means that your brakes are dangerously overheating and need emergency cooling.
Ignoring the burning odor could worsen to boiling hydraulic fluid which will lead to brake breakdown.
Other reasons for the burning smell when you drive include:
- Burning paper-like smell from the crotch when you change gear.
- Burning smell from an electric system.
- Noisy Screeching
Screeching noise when you press on the brake is yet another red flag that you must fix. The high pitch sound is due to a worn-out brake pad from consistently pressing down on the brakes over the years. The screeching you hear is warning from the wear indicator (made of steel) as it interacts with the rotor.; an indication that you should change the brake pad.
The screeching noise is therefore not a fault in itself, but a deliberate mechanism designed by manufacturers to indicate that there’s a fault with the brake pad.
Calling a mechanic to check out the brake pad is the right thing to do.
- Side Swerving
Side swerving is yet another big sign that you should never ignore. If your car pulls to the side while you apply the brakes you may have the following issues:
- Misalignment of your car’s tires: Potholes, collision, over speeding, and so on may lead to misalignment. This misalignment of the affected tires takes a toll on the pads which quickens damage. The unaffected brakes continue to wear down at its usual pace and functions properly without the corresponding efforts of the misaligned brake; generating an unbalanced effect.
- Issues with the Hydraulic System; due to foreign objects or debris, leakage and many more.
- A damaged caliper can also cause side swerving.
If you notice side swerving while you press down the brake, it is time to call a mechanic for servicing.
- Brake Vibrations
The best way to test this is by paying attention to how it feels during braking. If it vibrates then something is not right with the brakes. It may be the pad, the rotor or both. You should hire a mechanic to check this.
- Excessively Flexible Brake Pads
While pressing down on the brake pad, if you notice it gives way in an unusual flexible way, then the brake pads have been overused. Your car is in dire need of a brake pad replacement.
None of the signs above are ‘manageable’ so if you notice any of the red flag do not wait a minute more. Park the car and call a mechanic. It’s urgent!