Brake problems: 10 warning signs you should look out for


Do you always have to repair brake issues in your car? Check out the various brake signs that could help you prevent little problems from escalating!

If there is one safe driving tip you should never forget, it is to not let car problems linger. The moment you notice a sign, the wise thing to do is to nip it in the bud. This single act of precaution could save you from more problems and excess spending of money on repairs.

You should keep the same energy when it comes to your car’s brake system. There is a great deal of power in having full control of your vehicle’s movement. Anything short of this is a recipe for disaster. You will either be colliding with other vehicles or running over someone.

Take note of the following brake problem signals brought to you by Naijacarnews.

1. Spongy brake pedal

There is no room for a spongy feeling in a brake pedal that is up and running. This only happens when the hydraulic system has lost a nut or two. Problems of air passing through the lines, faulty calipers or worn out flex line give off a soft feeling when the pedal is engaged. If you notice this softness, be alerted of a problem.

2. Hardness in the pedal

As much as the pedal is not supposed to be soft, it is not supposed to be hard either. A functional brake pedal should have the right amount of movement. Hardness indicates a problem in the mechanism of the power assist.


Hardness in the pedal is due to obstruction in the system

3. Leaking fluids

“Complex” is one word that aptly describes the hydraulic system. There are various lines leading up to the ABS. When any of these lines develop the slightest hole, it leads to leakage of fluid, and allows air to come into the system. Brake failure is inevitable the moment either or both of these signs occur.

4. Grinding sound

Do you hear a disturbing sound when you engage the pedal? If the answer is yes, you are most likely dealing with a faulty brake system. The grinding sound occurs when two metals rub against each other. It happens when the pads get worn out, allowing direct contact between the metals. Besides having to deal with the noise, your brake performance will be badly affected. A replacement of pads may be needed. In some cases, you would need to install new rotors.

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5. Slow response

An active brake system does not delay to respond. It springs into action immediately it is engaged. If the reverse is the case, it is a sign that the brake is fading away. In some cases, this does not last for long. In other cases, you will have to deal will it until you proffer a lasting solution. The short term scenario occurs when you are driving on a road that is curvy.  The nature of the road hits up the rotors, rendering them less active than usual. If this is not the case, then the problem is deeply rooted. The need for rotors replacement becomes eminent.


A collision is around the corner if the brake is slow to respond

6. Pulling sideways

That moment when you apply the brakes, and your car pulls sideways can be confusing, especially if you are experiencing it for the first time. This is as a result of the brake wearing out unevenly. One side has worn out more than the other, hence, the gravitation towards one area. One of the possible reasons for this is a damaged caliper or wheel cylinder. The pads could also have been eaten up by worn rotors.

7. Vibration

Vibration while braking is not normal. This occurs when the brake is heated up for too long. Hot spots are developed in the rotors, and when they cool off, they tend to contract a lot more than other parts of the rotors. This condition makes the system to disseminate uncoordinated pulses via the steering wheel or brake pedal.

8. Brake warning light

Warning lights function according to their name – they warn you about impending danger. The brake warning light is turned off by default. If it comes on at any point in time, you should know that there is a problem with the brake. The problem might be minor or major depending on the cause. You would not know the degree of the problem until you take a close look at it.

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When the brake warning light comes on, find out the trigger.

There you have it. All these signs are related to the brake system. Take note of them, and act accordingly when they occur. You do not want to be driving a car with faulty brakes; the implications can be fatal.

9. Dragging acceleration

A dragging brake affects car performance especially in regard to cruising and acceleration. When you hit the acceleration pedal, you get a revving engine, but it feels like the wheels are stuck as they refuse to give you the desired speed. A drum or caliper might be hanging up somewhere.

10. Foul smell

Nothing screams “problem” more than the foul smell that fills the air when you engage the brake. When overheated, the brake produces an odd smell as a result of burning friction lining. The shoes and pads form a slick glaze, and that affects vehicle performance.

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Chris Odogwu