Let me tell you, car trouble is bad but brake trouble is the worst of it. There is nothing more frightening than trying to stop 4,000 some odd pounds of steel moving at 35 mph on a busy street and the brakes failing to do the job they’ve been assigned.
That’s what happened on a recent trip to the supermarket and it’s all because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my car maintenance habits. After tracking down reliable and trustworthy brake service near me, I asked some of the important questions that I hadn’t even thought about prior to this close call with poorly functioning brakes.
I learned the hard way that the brakes are the single-most critical safety mechanism on an automobile and it’s perfectly foolish not to check the state of this vital component on a regular basis. It turns out I was ignoring the warning signs that were so clearly in front of me, so let me offer you these helpful hints as to the most common car brake issues that can arise in any vehicle. It doesn’t matter if your car is foreign or domestic, new or used, we all need to be able to brake and it pays to be sure they’ll be ready to perform when you step on that pedal.
Your Brake Light
Check your dash, is this light on? If so, DON’T disregard it. That was my mistake. Too many of us are all too comfortable with ignoring the warning lights that illuminate on our car consoles. The problem is that those lights are often alerting us to a pressing and urgent issue, especially when it relates to the status of your brakes.
Now sometimes you may see the light if your parking brake hasn’t been fully disengaged correctly (and that in and of itself can be an issue as you shouldn’t be driving around with your parking brake on, even a little bit).
Maybe you’re hearing a high-pitched squeal when your step on the brake, that’s most likely an indication that your brake pads have been worn down. The condition may be so bad that the steel frames are making contact with the rotor.
The same thing if you hear a grinding sound when you step on the brakes. Metal scraping on metal can do some serious damage to your brakes and that can cost big money if you let the problem continue.
Low Brake Fluid
When you step on the pedal does it feel soft or do the brakes react quickly? If it’s the former then you may be losing power in your brake system due to a loss of brake fluid and that could be affecting the master cylinder.
This component is what generates the power in your brakes and when you step on the brake pedal, fluid is pushed through a thin pipe which in turn increases hydraulic pressure. Without sufficient levels of fluid, the brakes won’t have enough power to stop the car when need be and any lag time between applying the brakes and the brakes slowing the vehicle could mean valuable seconds lost.