DIAGNOSING COMMON BRAKE PROBLEMS
Your car’s braking system is arguably the most important system in your
vehicle. It’s imperative to understand the cause of the most common brake problems and learn how to
If you suspect problems with your brakes, whether it’s a soft pedal or a sharp grinding
sound, it’s best to address the situation immediately.
repairs are best left to experts, so if you don’t have experience diagnosing and repairing these
systems, bring your car or light truck to have your brakes properly inspected and repaired.
1. Spongelike or Soft Pedal - A spongy feeling or soft
brake pedal is a sure sign of a problem. If you have to pump the brakes for them to work effectively,
or you notice the brake pedal traveling further towards the floor than usual, this is indicative of a
loss of pressure in the braking system.
Most brakes systems are hydraulic, with a master cylinder that regulates the
pressurized hydraulic fluid that runs through lines to the brakes at each wheel. When you hit your
pedal, it activates the fluid in the master cylinder, which in turn controls the mechanical functions
of the actual brakes to slow and stop your vehicle.
When the brake pedal is soft or spongy, there could be a leak in one of the brake
lines. Leaks can occur where the lines meet at the wheels, where the lines discharge from the master
cylinder, or anywhere in between, and aren’t always easy to spot. If the loss of pressure is caused by
an internal failure in the master cylinder, however, you may not see fluid leaking externally.
Improperly bled brakes may also cause
a soft pedal, with air bubbles in the brake lines
hindering your hydraulic pressure. This problem may
be solved through the simple procedure of properly
bleeding the brakes.
A more involved repair could include
replacement of brake lines, either one or all. The
most expensive and complicated repairs to solve this
problem typically would include replacement of the
2. Irregular Noises - If you hear a
metallic sound or screeching when you use your brakes, it could be the brake pads are worn down and
need to be replaced. It can also be an indication that damaged or low quality brake pads have harmed
your rotors. Warped rotors or a damaged caliper can also cause you to feel a shudder in the steering
wheel when applying the brakes. While replacing brake pads is a relatively low cost and quick job,
machining warped rotors or installing new rotors is labor intensive and a more costly repair.
3. Brake Indicator Light -
Lastly, if you see
the brake warning light on your dashboard, do not ignore it. Immediately stop your vehicle and do not
use it again until the braking systems can be properly inspected.
For more information on common brake problems and brake systems, stop into
our shop and lets discuss any
questions or concerns that you have about your vehicles braking system.
What is it?
Your car’s brake system is its most critical safety system and you should check it immediately if you suspect any
problems. A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle control and operation under a wide variety of
What does it do?
When you push the brake pedal, the force generates hydraulic pressure in the master cylinder. This pressure flows
through the hydraulic lines and hoses to the wheel cylinders and calipers, forcing the shoes against the drums (drum
brakes) and the pads against the rotors (disc brakes). The resulting friction slows the vehicle and is relative to the
amount of force applied at the brake pedal.
Typical Wear and Tear
Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need replacement. Avoid letting your brakes
get to the “metal-to-metal” point, which usually means expensive rotor or drum replacement. Factors that affect wear
include driving habits and quality of brake pads and shoes.
DESCRIPTION OF BRAKE REPAIR
A fully functioning brake system is crucial to your safety, the safety of
your passengers, and the safety of other drivers on the road. Your
vehicle’s brake system involves highly engineered parts and precise
movements that stop your vehicle by converting kinetic energy into thermal
When you press down on the brake pedal, the master cylinder
pressurizes a system of hydraulic brake lines leading to each of the
vehicle’s wheels, where brake pads or shoes press against a disc or drum
and create the necessary friction needed to slow the vehicle to a complete
stop. Over time, this friction and heat has the potential to wear down the
brake shoes, brake pads, calipers, brake rotors, and other braking
components. While the components comprising each brake system may vary,
the warning signs for impending brake repairs are the same.
BENEFITS OF BRAKE REPAIR
Bad brakes display warning signs for impending brake maintenance. For
example, if your brakes squeal or grind when in use, then your brake pads
may be worn and require replacements. If your vehicle pulls to one side
when braking, then this may point to worn brakes, a malfunctioning
caliper, or low brake fluid in the brake lines. If your brake pedal
presses down too easily—also known as “spongy” brakes—then this may be an
indication of too much air in the hydraulic brake lines. Sometimes, your
vehicle’s electronic diagnostic system will alert you to a potential brake
issue by a service indicator light on the dashboard. While these are only
some of the most common signs of potential problems with your vehicle’s
brake system, noticing these signs of faulty brakes and seeking out a
brake service can save you money down the line. Our staff is trained in
maintaining and servicing front and rear brake systems and all
accompanying brake system components like brake pads, brake shoes, parking
brakes, rotors, drums, and hydraulic systems. If you experience any of the
above signs or symptoms of bad brakes, like unusual squealing or grinding
noises, then contact us online or call us today to have your brakes