If the brakes of your vehicle start to fail, it's best to have them serviced as soon as possible. If you procrastinate, you may jeopardize your own safety as well as that of your passengers. By recognizing the signs of a brake problem, you can have the issue remedied before safety becomes an issue. Here are a few indications that your brakes need to be serviced:
A Squishy Brake Pedal
If your brake pedal no longer feels firm, the squishy feel is an indication that your brake system may be failing. The brake pedal is connected to a hydraulic system. If there is not enough brake fluid available, the pedal can feel spongy and soft. In addition, problems with air inside the brake lines can also lessen the firmness of a brake pedal.
Brake Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid, which is the thin, oily-feeling liquid that fills your brake lines, transfers braking pressure from the brake pedal to the brake pads of your vehicle. Fluid leaks are common near the wheels of the car. To check for a brake fluid leak, inspect the areas on the inner tires near the wheel cylinders. The brake fluid has a synthetic, mechanical smell. In addition, since brake fluid can harm the paint finish of your car, look for wrinkling paint near the wheels. This can indicate a leak.
As you depress your brake pedal, there should be no grinding or screeching sounds. These sounds indicate that metal is scraping against metal. This occurs as the padding of your brake pads wears away to expose the metal backing. This metal backing can scrape against your metal rotors to emit a grinding or screeching noise.
As the metal of the pads scrapes against the rotors, the rotors are destroyed over time. Grooves and notches are scored into the metal rotors. If the scoring is minimal, the rotors may be salvaged by resurfacing them. However, if the notching is too deep, new rotors will be needed.
Pulling to a Particular Side While Braking
If one side of your brake system is wearing away more quickly than the other, you may experience a pulling to one side as you apply the brakes. If both sides are in optimal condition, as you press the brakes, the wheels of the car will not pull to the left or to the right.
If you are experiencing signs of a brake problem, have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic for potential brake repair as soon as possible.