Nine Signs Your Brakes Need Repair
Normal wear and tear on a cars brake system requires regular inspection of the them and other components. Skipping maintenance or putting off minor repairs can lead to serious and expensive problems. Driving habits determine how long they last. Driving carefully extends the life of most of them like rotors and calipers. Keep the cars suspension system shocks and struts well balanced, too. A poorly balanced vehicle puts unnecessary strain and wear on the brakes, and they wear out faster.
Symptoms of a brake problem:
- The brake warning light is activated.
The problem: The car giving an alert that something is amiss in the system.
The solution:В Get the car inspected by a trained mechanic as soon as possible. Replace or repair any worn or damaged parts, and follow a regular inspection and maintenance schedule in the future.
- They make a squealing or grinding noise when they are applied.
The problem: Any grinding, squealing, screeching or rubbing noises heard during braking indicate it is time to have the system inspected. The pads and shoes may have started to wear down and need to be replaced. In some cases, the gasket between the pad and the piston may be missing, causing vibrations to escalate to squealing sounds.
The solution:В Replace worn pads and shoes immediately, before they damage other parts. If the gasket between the pad and piston is missing, have the technician replace it.
- The brake pedal is spongy or slow to respond. Brakes feel weak.
They still work, but it takes longer to stop and sudden stops create less braking power. You may have to press down farther on the pedal to get results. If the pedal goes all the way to the floor, the car may have no braking power.
The problem:В The pads may be too worn to effectively stop the car, or the fluid is too low to allow for adequate braking pressure. In the worst case scenario, the brake power boost unit may have failed or the master cylinder has failed.
The solution:В Replace the pads as soon as possible, and have the fluid checked for contamination. If necessary, replace the fluid. Checking the brake power boost unit requires a special vacuum measurement tool, because brake boosters are vacuum-controlled. If the unit has failed, it must be replaced. Failed master cylinders also must be replaced.
- The brakes make a clunking sound.
The problem:В Something may be loose inside the system, such as the bolts that hold them together or attach them to the suspension. Suspension components may be worn or broken. Ball joints, steering racks, tie rod ends, wheel bearings and more can cause clunking sounds.
The solution: Have the vehicle inspected immediately and repair any loose components or worn parts.
- The brake pedal is too firm.
If applying them suddenly feels very difficult and it is hard to depress the pedal, this can be an indication of a significant problem.
The problem:В The vacuum brake booster system may have a leak or it may be failing. There may be an obstruction in the line circulating fluid throughout the system.
The solution:В Get the car to a mechanic immediately. Having any leaks in the vacuum booster system repaired. If there are no leaks, the booster has probably failed and needs to be replaced. The technician should check for blockages in the lines. In some cases, the line has been damaged or pinched and needs to be repaired.
- The brakes seem to be grabbing or braking causes the car to pull to one side.
The problem:В Grabbing or pulling when braking can indicate that they or suspension system has a problem. In some cases, the discs may be damaged.
The solution:В Replace worn or contaminated pads. If the disc is damaged, replace the discs in pairs to ensure the car brakes evenly.
- The brake pedal vibrates when brakes are applied.
Most cars have ABS, and the pedal will vibrate during sudden, hard stops as part of the normal anti-lock braking function. Other vibrations felt through the pedal or steering wheel during braking indicates a problem.
The problem:В There may be metal-on-metal rubbing in the system. The brake rotors may be warped or being damaged by worn-out pads.
The solution:В Replace any worn our contaminated pads. If the discs have been damaged, replace them immediately. Check the suspension system and replace any worn or damaged parts. Have the mechanic check the cars alignment, and get an alignment if necessary.
- The brakes drag or do not immediately release when the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal.
The problem:В The system may have a bad wheel cylinder, causing them to remain under pressure. The parking brake may not have fully released, leaving it engaged slightly at all times.
The solution:В If the technician finds a problem with the wheel cylinder, it must be replaced. If the problem is with the parking brake, the cable control may need lubrication or replaced.
- There is a strong burning smell near the tires.
The problem: Brake pads may be seriously worn, or they may have been over-used. If the driver habitually rides the brakes or brakes very hard, brakes can overheat. This often occurs when coming down a steep hill or mountain drive. If the smell occurs during regular driving, a more serious problem exists. A caliper piston may be locked, or there may be a problem with the parking brake or brake pads.
The solution:В Drive smart, and do not ride the brakes or drive with the parking brake engaged. If driving down steep hills frequently, downshift rather than constantly use the brakes to slow the vehicle. If the burning smell of overheated brakes occurs during normal use, get the brake system inspected. Replace or repair caliper pistons, brake pads or parking brake components as needed.
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Article Source:В http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ron_Haugen
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