If a car’s brakes are compromised, it can become difficult to stop at intersections, park in crowded areas, or make emergency maneuvers to avoid accidents. Fortunately, cars typically provide warning signs before braking power is lost. When a car exhibits any of the following signs, it is vital that it be examined by a qualified brake specialist as soon as possible.
1. Brake Light is On
The brake light is perhaps the most obvious indicator of problems with the braking system. This indicator can mean several different things. It is important to note that most modern cars have multiple brake lights that may indicate issues ranging from low fluid levels or worn brake pads to major mechanical issues.
2. Unusual Sounds When Braking
A high-pitched squeal when braking is a common indicator that brake pads are wearing thin and should soon be replaced. It is important that the car is looked at by a certified mechanic quickly to avoid damage that may lead to more expensive repairs.
A metal-on-metal grinding noise present during braking is typically an indicator of very worn brake pads and likely indicates damage being done to rotors. In the presence of grinding, it is urgent that the car be worked on to prevent further damage and unsafe driving conditions.
3. Vibration or Pulling to One Side when Braking
Vibration while braking often indicates warping on the rotors, which interferes with the braking process and creates vibration. To fix this problem, the rotors need to be resurfaced or replaced. Resurfacing is the smoothing of the rotors by grinding off the uneven parts. A qualified brake specialist will be able to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action.
4. Fluid Leaking
Most modern brakes are powered by the build-up of hydraulic pressure. Therefore, losing fluid will create less pressure and make stopping more difficult. A qualified mechanic will be able to check fluid levels, determine the source of the leak, and repair or replace the master cylinder.
5. Soft Brake Pedal
When the brake pedal is soft or even pushes all the way to the floor, it is urgent that the braking system be looked at by a qualified professional. Oftentimes this is an indicator that there is moisture build-up in the system or your master cylinder is not working properly. This can present an unsafe situation for the driver and others in the vicinity.
It is important to pay careful attention to the sounds and feel of the car each time you drive. In the presence of these signs, it is important to involve a qualified brake professional to avoid further damage and to prevent unsafe driving conditions.