Common Brake Problems

The following signs mean that your brakes may be wearing:

  • You hear a squealing or grinding noise when braking
  • You notice an unusual smell when braking
  • The brake pedal feels spongy when pressed
  • The brake pedal pulses when pressed
  • Your brakes are noticeably less effective
  • The vehicle pulls to the side when braking
  • The steering wheel judders or shakes when braking

The signs listed above indicate that there could be a problem with your vehicle's brakes, and they may require repair or replacement. Potential problems with your brakes could be:

General Wear and Tear

Brakes are what is known as a “friction product”, which means they wear as part of doing their job, as when the brake pads clamp to the brake disc, the friction between the two braking surfaces is what stops your car.

The Brake Fluid Needs Changing

To prevent brake more serious brake failure and corroding of brake parts, vehicle manufacturers generally recommend replacing brake fluid every 2 years.

However, if your brakes have become soft and spongy or your pedal is travelling further than normal, then leaking, contaminated boiled brake fluid is usually the cause.

You can book a brake fluid replacement at your local branch, where it shouldn’t take much longer than around 1 hour to complete.

Seized Brake Components

At each wheel of your car, there are moving parts that form the braking system. The brake calliper at each wheel is mounted on sliding bolts, allowing it to press the inside and outside brake pad against the brake disc with even pressure.

Due to age, lack of servicing or environmental corrosion from water and road salt, should any of these components become partially or fully stuck, the brake parts will start to wear irregularly.

You may be able to feel the brakes are less responsive, the brake pedal feels harder, or hear the noise of the brake catching, even when the brake pedal is not pressed.

You may also be able to smell the brakes becoming hot as the braking surfaces remain together even when the pedal isn’t pressed.

Electronic Faults

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) on your car uses sensors and electronic control modules (ECM) to control the braking applied to each wheel independently to prevent the wheels from locking when braking.

A fault in this system may be felt by a pulsing brake pedal, as the vehicle incorrectly believes one or more of your wheels are travelling at different speeds, which the ECM interprets as the vehicle sliding on a slick surface such as ice.

A visual inspection is always necessary to accurately diagnose any brake issue.

For this reason, if you suspect a brake issue on your car, we recommend booking a free brake check at your local Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre.