Most people don’t think too much about their car’s stopping power until they have brake problems. A lot of times, the first sign of a brake problem is a high-pitched squeaking sound when the brakes are applied. Thankfully, this issue usually isn’t serious, and can be fixed rather easily by the do-it-yourselfer. Here are some of the most common brake issues, and how to stay away from them.|
When you hear that squeal, the first thing you should check is the brake pads. They may be worn down enough so that two pieces of bare metal are rubbing up against one another, and failure to replace the brake pads in a timely manner can lead to rotor damage, which is much more costly and complicated to repair.
If you examine your brake pads and they look as if they are not worn out, check the brake pad gasket. It is usually located between the side of the brake pad and the caliper piston. If it’s broken or missing, it can also cause brake squeal.
Low brake pressure is another common problem. This is one of the easiest brake issues to spot, because it results in the pedal going all the way to the floorboard of the vehicle. This can be caused from a few things, such as low brake fluid, air in the brake line, or a bad master cylinder. To keep your brakes as stiff as they should be, check your fluid regularly, bleed your brakes if necessary, and as a last resort, get the master cylinder checked.
A faulty brake rotor can cause your steering wheel to shake. Rotors can get hot and become warped if the brakes are “ridden” excessively. Bad rotors can also cause your car to pull to one side when the brakes are applied. To avoid this, try not to ride your brakes, and inspect your rotors frequently.
You should also change your brake fluid frequently. Most people go years without doing this, but the truth is, the average brake fluid loses its effectiveness in less than three years. This happens when water enters the brake fluid through the hoses or seals, and brake fluid contaminated with water has a lower boiling point.
If you have a brake problem that you are unsure how to handle, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself. Brakes are vital to the safe operation of your car, and shouldn’t be tampered with by inexperienced individuals. You will save a lot of money and frustration by calling in a professional mechanic.
Your car’s brakes are one of its most important components, and they work to help your car come to a safe and complete stop when necessary. As durable as most brake systems are, problems do occur. The problems listed above are the most common and easily repairable, and by learning more about your brakes, you can save yourself a lot of money when it comes to repairs. Brake repair may cost you some time and money, but it gets easier when you think of it as an investment in your safety.