Making sure your brakes are in working order is important for any vehicle owner. The main function of brakes is to stop the car, but they can wear differently depending on vehicle and driving conditions over time. Do not ignore these common symptoms of worn brake pads and discs.
- The vehicle squeals when stopping. This is one of the most obvious signs that your brakes are in need of replacement. The sound is caused by a piece of metal called a wear indicator that is attached to most brake pads. When the padding of friction material has worn past a certain point this piece of metal makes contact with the disc resulting in the squeal of alarm to alert you to the need of replacement. The initial warning squeal means you have the ability to make it safely to a garage for repair, but ignoring it for too long will result in a complete wearing away of the pads resulting in braking metal-on-metal causing more damage.
- The vehicle pulls to one side when stopping. This braking issue can be the result of a frozen caliper, though pulling to one side could also be indicative of front tires going bad or a broken belt. If it is the result of a frozen caliper then this could mean that a piston is stuck or the slide pins have lost lubrication. In some cases it could be due to a faulty proportioning valve or master cylinder, but this is not typical.
- The brake pedal is soft, sinks to the floor, or pulsates. A soft brake pedal or one that sinks to the floor is a major braking issue indicating that the master cylinder may be leaking or that there is a leak in the braking system. Be sure to check the brake fluid levels. Sometimes a leak will show up inside your car near the brake pedal. This calls for immediate service. If the brake pedal pulsates then most likely the rotors are warped or out of tune.
- The steering wheel shakes when stopping. This is a common symptom of break issues for virtually any make and model vehicle. It can be the result of warped front rotors or when pad impressions form. Since pads should be flat and even the impressions or indents can cause a shaky stop. Pad impressions can form when a vehicle sits for a prolonged period of time without being driven, especially when temperatures are high, or when excessive moisture exposer causes rotors to rust around the pad. In many cases this can be fixed with a pad refinishing, and not necessarily a replacement unless rust is the culprit.
- The whole car shakes when stopping. This could be an issue with the rear brakes. This could be an issue with the rear drums needing resurfacing or replacement. In some cars this can be isolated by gently applying the emergency brake while driving slowly in a safe area away from other cars or people. Do not attempt this at speed on any major traffic roads. This technique may help determine if it is the rear brakes if the shakiness becomes more apparent; however, if you have rear disc brakes it may be difficult to tell if the shaking is specifically caused by the rear braking mechanism because the emergency break is separate from the rear brakes. If you are unsure, it is best to leave the diagnostics to the professionals.
Stop by Havoline xpress lube, which is located at 725 Hwy 66 South in Kernersville, NC for your vehicle service needs such as brake repair, oil changes, air filter replacements, transmission services, tire rotations and many other types of vehicle services. We are only a short drive from Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Salem.