You don’t need us here at Primary Care Auto Repair to tell you how important your vehicle’s brake system is. You already know how important it is. What we can tell you that you might not know are the signs of brake system problems. In many cases, your brake system will give you a warning that it’s going bad before it fails completely. Here’s what to look for.
Dashboard Warning Lights
Your car, truck, or utility vehicle’s dashboard has an ABS and brake light. It may also have a pad wear indicator light. Your ABS light will turn on if there is a problem with the anti-lock brake system. The brake light will turn on if there is a problem with the brake system or you have the parking brake set. The pad wear indicator light will turn on when your brake pads are too low.
Grinding or Scraping Noises
If your brake pads are too low, you may also hear grinding or scraping noises every time you apply the brakes. This is a sign that the brake pad surface is gone and the metal backings are scraping up against the rotors. You may also feel your vehicle, brake pedal, or steering wheel vibrate when you slow down and stop. Vibration can also occur if the rotors are warped or the calipers are stuck.
Squealing or Squeaking Noises
Your brakes may also squeal while you are driving if the brake pads have a wear indicator that is designed to make noise. Squeaking or squealing can also be caused by overheating brakes. The squealing sound is made by the brake pads and rotors that have glazed, i.e., gotten too hot and smoothed out. If your brakes are overheating, you will smell burning smells, too.
Brake Fluid Leaks
If brake fluid is leaking out of the system, your brake pedal may feel soft or squishy, you may have to press down much harder on the brake pedal to get your car to stop, and you may eventually lose the ability to stop. A soft and squishy brake pedal also indicates air in the brake lines. Brake fluid leaks underneath your automobile near the wheels and it is light or dark brown.
Pulling to the Side
Finally, if your vehicle pulls to the side when you apply the brakes, you may have a stuck caliper, a warped rotor, or the incorrect tire pressure in the tire that your vehicle pulls toward the most. Pulling to the side while you are in motion is not a brake problem. Rather, this is a sign that your wheels are out of alignment and they need to be realigned.
Call Primary Care Auto Repair in Warwick, RI, to schedule an appointment for a brake inspection if you suspect your brake system is having problems.