5 Signs Of Impending Brake Failure

Most drivers take their brakes for granted until there's a problem, but they're one of the most important safety mechanisms on your vehicle. Letting brake issues go until there's a failure can be dangerous, and you shouldn't ignore the signs of brake malfunction. Below is a list of five signs that your car's brake system could use a boost.

  • A spongy feeling in the brake pedal is a reliable indicator of hydraulic system issues. Failing calipers, air in the brake lines or weak flex lines can lead to a soft feeling when you apply the brakes. The pedal should be firm and the brakes should apply gradually. If the pedal feels soft under your feet, it's a warning sign of failure and you should take your car in for service right away.
  • A hard feeling in the brake pedal can be serious as well, and it usually signals a problem in the power braking mechanism. Most cars use vacuum boosters to offer braking assistance so you don't have to push as hard on the pedal, but heavier trucks often use a hydrobooster to accomplish the same goal. The hydrobooster uses pressure from the steering pump to aid in braking, and when the system goes down the brake pedal may be harder to push.
  • Fluid leaks are often caused by worn seals, loose fittings and split hoses, and they can seriously decrease braking ability. Your car's hydraulic system is complex, especially if the vehicle is equipped with ABS, and a leak in any part can cause an overall loss of air and fluid throughout the system. Areas most prone to leaks are at the calipers and at the wheels, and you can spot the signs of such a leak by inspecting the inner walls of your tires for wetness.
  • Grinding is a sign of a mechanical issue with your braking system. It only occurs when you've worn through the friction material on your brake pads and the base of the pad is grinding on the surface of the rotor. When your brakes are this bad, you should take your car in for service at an auto center, like H & S Tire & Auto Center, right away to prevent unsafe conditions and further damage to your braking system.
  • Pulling can occur with worn rotors or malfunctioning wheel cylinders, and your car will move to the side as you press the pedal because your brakes are pulling harder on that side. A minor adjustment could fix the problem, but pulling is typically a sign of serious wear.

If you delay brake service until there's a serious problem, the solution will be more costly than if you'd caught the problem before the malfunction occurred. Your car's brakes are one of its most important parts, and paying attention to the signs of brake failure can be the difference between life and death.