How Do You Know When Your Vehicle’s Brakes Are Starting to Fail?

View of a wide roadYour vehicle’s brake system is foundational to your road safety. If your brakes aren’t up to par, you are endangering yourself and others. Sometimes brake issues can sneak up on you if you’re not sure how to spot some of those early warning signs. 

Keep These 4 Warning Signs in Mind

There are 4 tell-tale indicators that your brakes are not doing their job properly. Luckily, these 4 signs are usually relatively easy to catch. However, any deterioration in your brake system can escalate quickly. Don’t wait to contact your vehicle service provider if you notice one of these signs. 

Are Your Brakes Being Noisy? 

Noticing any noises when you use that brake pedal? This is one of the most common indicators that something is wrong. This noise can be anything from a screech or a squeal to a grinding sound. When your brakes are in good condition the parts run silently due to the fact that each component is cushioned between those pads for even and smooth friction and force distribution. If you hear a screech or grinding sound, it means some of those parts are rubbing on or scraping together and must be replaced immediately.


Does Your Steering Wheel Feel Like it’s Vibrating?

Feeling any shaking or vibrating in the steering wheel when you use your brake pedal? That’s your brake pads pressing against an uneven surface, most likely due to a warped rotor. Never ignore anything out of the ordinary when using your brake pedal. Putting off getting your brakes checked can be deadly, not to mention costly. 

Does Your Brake Pedal Feel Soft or Mushy? 

Find you’re having to press harder and harder on the brakes in order to slow or come to a full stop? Soft or mushy-feeling brakes usually indicate worn-down brake pads, shoes, or a fluid leak. Again, get those brakes looked at immediately. You’d be surprised how quickly things can deteriorate if one of these components is actively failing on the road.  

Is Something Burning?

While nothing good can come from a burning smell, if it’s coming from your brake system (usually centralized down by the wheels) something really isn’t right. A burning smell usually means one of two things is happening. Either there are metal parts in the brake system that are making contact in a bad way or things are seriously overheating. No matter the underlying cause, if you smell something burning pull over as quickly as possible and call it in.    

While brake failure is relatively rare, it’s important to always take brake system care and maintenance seriously. If you take good care of your vehicle you’ll be able to counter brake issues before they can manifest into a dangerous and/or expensive situation. Many vehicles now also come with onboard diagnostic systems that will let you know if there is a problem. 

Remember, vehicle maintenance is not just about your safety, but the safety of all those with whom you share the road. Always investigate any changes to your vehicle’s brake system even if you think it might be your imagination. If you experience any of the indicators in this list, pull over as quickly and safely as you can then call your preferred vehicle service provider. 

At S&B Keswick, our Auto Service and Repair Department is at your disposal. Whether it’s an emergency issue or a regular service checkup, stop by and let our team make sure your next drive is safe and carefree.