Check out the condition of your brakes

08/10/18
Check out the condition of your brakes

Brakes are at the top of the list when it comes to car safety. The first indication that something is wrong is an illuminated brake warning light on the dashboard. If you feel that your car is not performing up to par, check it out. It can be dangerous and costly to delay or ignore this problem.

Common Problems

The job of brakes is to stop the wheels from turning, producing a lot of heat. When they are overused and overheated, fading occurs. Brakes normally wear out over time and need to be eventually repaired or replaced. But you know there is a problem when any of the following happens:

  • The pedal depresses farther, or it depresses completely without slowing down the car
  • Decreased brake function- the car travels a greater distance before stopping
  • You hear a squealing sound when you apply the brakes
  • Brakes give off a burning odor
  • The car pulls to one side
  • Unexplained vibration

Easy Fixes

Sometimes you can feel that something is wrong. Here a few tips on how to detect and correct common brake issues:

  • With the engine turned off, step off the brakes. A soft pedal means that you are either low on brake fluid or you need to bleed the brakes i.e. get the air out of the lines.
  • If the brakes in your car squeal, you need to clean the brake pads. But if this problem persists, you will need to get new ones. While you are at it, check the condition of your rotors.
  • If you feel that your car is not stopping as quickly, it is a sign that the brakes are not functioning effectively. Contaminated brake fluid or worn out pads could be the culprit.
  • If your car is pulling to left or right, there may be insufficient hydraulic pressure in one of the brake systems or it may be time to replace rotors or pads.
  • If the car begins to drag when it moves forward, it could be as simple as grease on the pads. However, it is possible that you are dealing with a scored rotor.

If you are unable to solve the problem, it is time to visit a mechanic.

 

Maintenance

As a driver, it is always smart to have a well-maintained car. Check your brakes routinely at least once a year. The inspection should include:

  • The condition of brake pads, lining and lubrication
  • Brake fluid level
  • All exterior brake lights - as well as warning brake light in the dashboard
  • The condition of brake lines and hose pipes
  • Rotor thickness

Remember to change the brake fluid of your car on a regular basis. It is a hydroscopic fluid and attracts moisture naturally. This can cause metal components within the system to rust, thereby reducing brake performance or, in extreme cases, brake failure.

After the inspection is complete, make sure to test drive your car, checking for any noise, drag or pull. The efficiency of their performance should not be compromised, especially when wet.