Everyone knows the importance of brakes. It’s an open secret that a faulty brake system can lead to accidents. With that in mind, we should not take this vital safety feature for granted and we should be responsible enough to ensure its efficiency through regular maintenance.
But how do you tell when it’s time to have them inspected or replaced? Fortunately, there are ways, so keep your senses sharp and look out for these 7 telltale signs of brake problems the next time you drive.
Brake warning light
Normally when you start the car, this light and the rest of the indicators on the instrument panel turns on for a few seconds. But when this remains on, you might want to pay closer attention to your braking system.
The function of the brake warning light varies from one car to another. But in most cases, seeing it constantly on could indicate an engaged or faulty parking brake, an ABS problem, worn-out brake pads, or a depleting brake fluid. In any case, when this light stays on, take action and bring your car to a service center for checkup.
Squealing noise when braking
Hearing this noise each time you apply the brakes means that the brake pads are worn-out and must be replaced. Ignoring or prolonging the occurrence of this squealing noise may eventually damage the entire braking system which can be costly or dangerous.
When you step on the pedal with more pressure than you normally would, chances are the brakes’ responsiveness has lessened. This could stem from things such as a fluid leak or a damaged hose. Have the brakes checked immediately as this could lead to serious problems on the road, especially on emergencies wherein quick and hard braking is needed.
This is characterized by the brakes engaging at the slightest step of the pedal. It can be caused by damaged or misaligned calipers, or grease/dust between the brake pads and discs. It may also result from uneven pressure build up on clogged hoses. A quick stop to the nearest service center can help solve this problem.
Pulling to one side
This occurs when the car moves to the left or right as you engage the brakes. When this happens, schedule a maintenance service as it’s most likely caused by dirty or uneven wear and tear on system components, or contaminated brake fluid.
When you suddenly feel the pedal or the entire car vibrate unusually when braking, there’s a probable chance that the rotor or disc to which the brake pad grinds on is damaged. The cause of damage differs from broken brake pads to excessive friction, heat, and constant hard braking. Periodically check the discs for cracks or warps and have them replaced.
Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS) reminders
Your car wears out over time due to continued use. Thankfully, most (if not all) cars these days come with PMS after-sales perks that help prolong their lives. You can count on the dealership to which you bought the car to remind you of this. If not, you can reach them and set a regular schedule of once or twice a year for service maintenance.
PMS is important as this comprise of safety checks, cleaning, and repair of components, including the braking system. Doing so would give you more peace of mind that the brakes will work as they should.
Although these signs may help you spot braking system problems, it always pays to be a step ahead in resolving or preventing them from occurring. Make it a habit to spend some time to observe the condition of the brakes.
Also, don’t be too complacent. Regularly schedule a maintenance check. Just because everything’s working fine, doesn’t mean everything’s alright.