Common Brake Problems
If you’re a car owner, you probably already realize that the brake system is one of the most important parts of your automobile. You can even make the argument that it’s the single most important system of your vehicle.
I mean, it’s great to go fast and have good, reliable performance, but being able to slow down and stop when needed is probably more important, right? Think about the consequences if you can’t stop your car when you need to.
Brake issues can be extremely disconcerting if you don’t know what’s causing them. You might even begin worrying about the safety of you and your family and whether you should be driving the car at all.
This leads to more stress, which can have negative impacts on other parts of your life. So it’s important to have your brakes checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as problems begin to arise.
Brake systems are very complex and there are many things that can go wrong. But here are a few of the most common and what you can do if they begin cropping up on your car.
The Brake Pedal is Soft
If your brake pedal feels soft or you have to push it farther than you should to get the brakes to work as intended, find a place to stop immediately as this is a very dangerous situation.
This almost always indicates a leak somewhere in the braking system, which can usually be traced back to the master cylinder.
Pull over and check your brake fluid; if you’re not sure how to do so, look in your owner’s manual. It’s likely going to be low, but even if it’s not this is still a very serious situation and you need to get to an auto repair shop as soon as possible.
If you’re not close to one, hiring a tow truck is advisable. And even if you are close, you need to proceed with extreme caution because this situation could lead to very serious consequences if not immediately taken care of.
Brake Pedal Pulses Up and Down
If your brake pedal pulses up and down every time you press on the brakes, this is usually a problem caused by an issue with the rotors.
Rotors lose their shape over time, and when that happens you’ll begin to notice a pulsating action when you apply the brakes.
This problem can be solved by either resurfacing or replacing your rotors.
Car Pulls to One Side When Applying the Brakes
This situation can be annoying, but it can also be dangerous if not rectified in a timely fashion.
Your car pulling to one side when applying the brakes can be caused by a few different things, but it’s probably because of a frozen caliper.
This usually happens gradually over time and can go unnoticed for awhile, but it is something that you want to have your mechanic look at as soon as possible.
Calipers generally last for a good amount of time, but they will need to be replaced eventually. And steering wheel issues when the brakes are applied are a good indication that the time has come to do so.
Steering Wheel Shakes When Brakes are Applied
This is one of the more common brake issues on all types of cars and there are many reasons why your steering wheel might shake when the brakes are applied.
Some possible reasons include that the front rotors have become warped, caused by moisture from rain or high humidity or other factors, as well as hot spots on your rotors caused by high temperatures, or even pad impressions.
Whatever the reason, an uneven rotor surface will almost certainly cause the brakes to pulsate and the steering wheel to shake.
This is a situation that can easily be fixed by having your rotors either resurfaced or replaced. Your mechanic can guide your further on which option is best for you and your car.