Vehicle brakes, like other major components to a car, need regular maintenance to keep them in proper running shape.
Like the engine system, the brakes are a system all their own, with different components that tend to need individual attention to maintain the system properly.
Even with proper care, things start to deteriorate and need checking into, so below, we have listed a few common brake problems that drivers tend to deal with.
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Common Brake Problems
Pads, rotors, fluids – Oh my!
Yes, vehicle brakes have many components that work together to run correctly. So, we have broken down a few of the more common brake problems that motorists deal with when it comes to their brake systems.
Worn brake pads can be checked at home or by a mechanic if that helps ease a driver’s mind. In most cases, drivers can check their pads without having to remove their wheels. Drivers need to check the thickness of the pad, and if it appears to be thin, then it is time to get them replaced.
Brake pads clamp down on the rotors to help stop your vehicle. They are usually flat and smooth, but due to excessive braking, or long braking periods, rotors can become overheated and end up warped. The brake pads can not grip onto warped rotors, so this is an issue that needs to be checked as soon as possible and can be indicated by a vibration when applying the brakes.
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A frozen brake caliper generally is a result of a vehicle that hasn’t been in use and corroded. Seizing can also be a result of other things, such as a stuck piston within the caliper or the brake pads becoming skewed and seizing up.
Fixing a seized brake can include a number of different fixes depending on the specific cause of the problem. Some cases may call for lubricating the brake system, and in other cases, you will need special tools to correct the problem.
Finally, in the case of corrosion, you will want to remember to flush the vehicle’s brake fluids on a regular basis, generally every other year, as the fluids absorb water over time, which can lead to corrosion.
Broken/Leaking Brake Lines
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Brake lines can and should be considered the pipeline of your vehicle’s braking system.
They work by taking brake fluid from the master cylinder, down to the wheels and through the brake hoses and finally into the vehicle’s calipers or wheel cylinders, according to YourMechanic.
The most common way that brake lines fail is they begin to leak either as a result of wear and tear or due to damage from corrosion or other accidents.
When the lines are broken, they will start to leak brake fluid, which can be seen easily when a car is parked as a puddle will begin to form underneath the vehicle.
In a worst-case scenario, if a line is leaking or broken while driving, the vehicle can quickly lose brake fluid if the brakes are applied.
Grinding brakes, also known as “growling” brakes is a loud metallic sound that indicates that the driver has completely worn down their brake pads. The noise is created by the disk and the caliper rubbing together. This can lead to your rotors needing to be replaced because it scratches the surface, making it uneven.
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How Do I Know When to Get My Brakes Checked?
Many signs can indicate it is time to get your brakes checked, and we have listed a few common ones below.
- Soft Brake Pedal – Or reduced responsiveness, can be an indicator of a leak in the braking system. This can be either in the fluid line, which is indicated by the presence of a small puddle of fluid under the car when it has been parked; or it could be an air leak in the brake hose.
- Squealing Noise When Braking – This is a small metal shim, also known as an indicator, that is giving the driver an audible warning that it is time to replace the brake pads. This is a very noticeable, high-pitched screeching noise heard when you apply your brakes.
- Vibration in the Pedal When Braking – This vibration is caused by multiple things but is most often found to be a result of warped rotors. Intense friction during long braking periods can heat up the rotors and cause them to wrap, and the vibration is felt because the brake pads cannot grip the surface.
If any of these symptoms come to surface, it is essential to schedule a brake check with a skilled mechanic either at a shop or your dealership. They will be able to delve deeper into the situation and tell you exactly what needs to be repaired.