Scheduled brake maintenance is usually every 15,000 miles and it allows certified technicians to confirm the safety and reliability of your vehicle’s braking system. If you haven’t had your brakes inspected in a while, or if you notice any of the following seven things, bring your vehicle into Urb’s Garage right away.
Dashboard Warning Light
If your ABS or brake light comes on, you’ve got a problem. The only time your brake light should come on is when you set the parking brake. It will also turn on for a brief moment when you start your car. Other than that, an ABS or brake light means there’s something wrong with the braking system.
Noises are also a sign of brake trouble, but in most cases, additional trouble can be avoided if you act quickly. Squealing could mean your brakes are overheating (more on that below), and grinding means your brake pads need to be replaced because they do not have any padded surface left.
Your vehicle, brake pedal, or steering wheel should not vibrate or wobble when you step on the brakes. If any of these things do, you’ve got a rotor problem most likely. Usually, wobbling means the rotors are warped, and this happens over time because of the constant friction by the brake pads.
Brake Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid can be a sign of master cylinder trouble. Fluid can also leak out of the brake lines. The reason why you see the bad guy cut the brake lines on the good guy’s car in action movies is that a vehicle cannot stop without brake fluid. Any fluid leaking on your garage floor should be checked right away.
Spongy Pedal Feel
If your vehicle is low on brake fluid, has air in the brake lines, or has master cylinder trouble, your brake pedal will feel spongy and may even sink to the floor. If you notice any difference in the resistance level of your brake pedal, have the brake system inspected as soon as possible.
Handling Trouble While Braking
Your vehicle will pull to one side while it is in motion when the wheels aren’t aligned properly. If your vehicle pulls to the side when you brake, you’ve got a caliper problem most likely. The pulling could also be caused by a bad brake hose. Braking shouldn’t make your vehicle handle strangely.
Finally, as we mentioned above, if your brakes are squealing constantly, they could be overheating and pad glaze is causing the noise. You will also smell burning chemicals or rubber and could even see smoke coming from the wheels. Overheating brakes are very dangerous. Stop and get a tow to a service shop.