Brakes going bad in action movies to leave you on the edge of your seat; a brake system going bad for real isn’t a good way to get your adrenaline pumping. Preventative maintenance keeps you on top of your vehicle’s braking system. However, if you notice any of the following seven things, bring your car, truck, or utility vehicle into Oxford Automotive in Oxford, PA, right away.
Your Brake Light Turned On
Your brake light will shine when you have the parking brake set. It will also shine for a few seconds when you first start your car. Other than that, you shouldn’t see it. If you do, your brake system is telling you something. If the ABS light comes on, you’ve lost the anti-lock system.
You Can Hear Your Brakes
You shouldn’t be able to hear your brakes. They might squeak a little if they get wet, but other than that, your brakes should be silent. Constant squealing or squeaking can indicate your brake pads are wearing down. Grinding indicates they’ve already worn down.
You Can Feel Your Brakes
You shouldn’t be able to feel your brakes, either. If the rotors are warped, your steering wheel or brake pedal might vibrate when you engage the braking system. If the pads are worn down to the metal-on-metal point, you might also feel some vibration from the scraping.
Your Brake System Is Leaking
Brake fluid can leak from the hoses or lines, the master cylinder, or another area from within the braking system. Brake fluid is light brown to dark brown and very slick to the touch. Leaking fluid is a huge problem because your brakes cannot stop your car without brake fluid.
Your Pedal Feels Weird
Air, moisture, or master cylinder trouble can make your brake pedal feel strange when you depress it. Air or water in the brake lines will make the pedal feel spongy, and it will give way easily. If the pedal sinks all the way to the floor, it could also be the master cylinder.
Your Car Pulls When You Brake
If your car pulls to the right or left when you use the brakes, you might have a worn brake hose or a caliper problem. If one of the calipers is applying more pressure than the other calipers are, your vehicle will pull to that side when you slow down and stop.
You Smell Chemicals
Finally, if you smell chemicals, your brakes could be overheating. A common brake system smell is burning rubber, which you’ll smell for a day or two when your brake pads are brand new. Any other odor is a sign of serious trouble.