In all vehicles, there is one system that plays the largest role in passenger safety — the brakes. The average driver will pump their brakes around 75,000 times in a year, which puts stress on the system. It’s important to perform regular brake maintenance to ensure the proper operation of your brakes, but thankfully the brakes have numerous ways of letting us know that they are in need of repair before completely giving out. These five common signs of brake trouble are indicators that it’s time to head to an auto shop to have your brakes repaired.
1. Soft Brake Pedal
In a vehicle with very worn brake pads, the brake pedal may feel soft or spongy. This will require the driver to push harder on the brakes to garner a normal response. This issue can also be caused by air in the brake lines or even a brake fluid leak, which is extremely dangerous! If it feels like you have to apply more force to your brakes than usual, have them checked out.
2. Brake Pedal Vibration
Have you ever pushed down on the brake and felt it vibrate? A vibration that occurs when you hit the brakes can indicate a warped brake rotor. The surface area that the brake pads rub against to slow your car requires friction, and when the friction has been reduced, the vehicle’s braking abilities are greatly diminished.
3. Directional Pulling
If your vehicle pulls left or right when you hit the brakes, there’s a good chance that the vehicle is suffering from uneven brake pad wear. If one side has thicker brakes than the other, it will engage quicker, pulling the car to that side. Directional pulling can also be caused by a stuck wheel cylinder or impure brake fluid, so be sure to have the issue properly diagnosed.
4. Grinding or Howling Noises
One of the most common signs of upcoming brake failure is a grinding, screeching, or howling noise that occurs when the brakes are engaged. This metal-on-metal sound is caused by the friction that occurs when the brake pads have been completely worn down. This is a sure sign of brake trouble — head to the auto shop as soon as you hear these sounds!
5. ABS Dashboard Light
The ABS Dashboard Light is a helpful tool for recognizing brake trouble. ABS stands for Anti-lock Brake System, and its indicator light on the dashboard will engage if vehicle sensors pick up on a problem with the brakes. An auto shop can determine the exact cause of the issue.
Don’t put off brake repairs — doing so will only lead to an unsafe vehicle. If you need brake repair in Rockford or Loves Park, head to Mark’s Auto Service. Call us today to have your brakes serviced or repaired.