How to know if your car’s brakes are failing

29 March 2019 / Lindleys Autocentres

Essentially, your brake system is the most important part of your vehicle that ensures you are safe on the road. With the ability to slow down your vehicle and come to a complete stop during emergencies, an inadequate brake system will not be able to work in the way it is designed to - especially in the time of need.

Whenever you press down on your brake pedal, it is your brake pads that are stopping your car. When you hit the brakes, the brake pads apply friction against the metal disc/drum so that your vehicle stops completely. Now, depending on how you drive will determine how frequently you will need replacements. For example, if you are someone who commutes daily in your vehicle, you will find that your brake pads wear down a lot faster than someone who doesn't. Nonetheless,  the friction will cause the brake pads to wear down over time regardless.

Nevertheless, there are key warning signs that indicate that your brakes are in need of a repair or replacement.

Brake fluid leakage

As your brakes ultimately function on a hydraulic system, fluid leaks are typically the main culprit for brake failure. For your brake system to work efficiently, there must be fluid present in the hydraulic pipes. If there isn't, then your brakes will become ‘soft’ which is a distinct indication that your brakes are faulty. Now, if and when this occurs, we strongly stress that you do not ignore this symptom. You MUST get your brakes checked immediately to prevent your brakes completely failing.

We recommend that you get into a routine where you test your brakes each and every time you plan on driving your vehicle. The fluid leak test consists of pressing your brake pedal down whilst your vehicle is still turned off. If the pedal feels like it is ‘soft’ and easy to push down, there is a possibility that you have a fluid leak. There should be some resistance from the brake pedal if there were no issues. Like mentioned above, you should get your vehicle seen by a mechanic as soon as possible when this occurs.

Squealing or grinding noises

If you begin to notice that your brakes make a squealing sound, this too is a telltale sign that there is an issue with your brake system. Typically, noises like this will occur when your brake pads are wearing out and are in need of a replacement. Overheating brake pads or rust on the brake lining can also cause a screeching and grinding sound whenever you apply your brakes.

Your car pulling to one side

If you notice that your vehicle pulls to the side when you apply your brakes, it could reveal that you are experiencing brake problems. The pulling sensation may be subtle to begin with, but you must pay attention to how your vehicle behaves over a period of time.

Typically, many motorists will ignore the slight changes in the performance of their vehicle which is a big mistake. When it comes to the fundamental attributes to your car, you have to pay attention to inconsistencies in your driving experiences. This way you can identify whether you are having issues with your vehicle.

Warning lights

As the most obvious sign, if the brake warning light shows up on your dashboard then it is time to get your brakes checked by your local garage.

If you need more information on what the dashboard warning lights mean, check out one of our articles where we explain them in more detail.

This is why it is extremely important to have your brakes regularly checked and tested by a professional mechanic to safeguard your vehicle. Through this, you know for sure that your safety will not be compromised over faulty brakes. If you are ever unsure about how frequent these checks should be, simply refer to your car’s owner manual.

With that said, if your vehicle is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should visit your local garage as soon as possible. You can do this by booking online or contact us for additional information.

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