Your brakes are one of the most important systems in your car, truck, or utility vehicle because if you can’t stop, you might end up causing an automobile accident. Here at Fairfax Auto Repair, we want you to be as safe as possible, which is why service, repair, and replace brake systems. Are your brakes trying to tell you something? Here are five signs of brake problems that say that they are.
1. Brake Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid is extremely greasy and is light or dark brown, depending on its age. Older brake fluid is darker than newer brake fluid, and the fluid tends to drip near your wheels if you have a brake fluid leak. The big problem with leaking brake fluid is that it’s the fluid that applies pressure to your calipers, allowing you to stop safely. No brake fluid, no safe stopping, or stopping at all.
2. Spongy Brake Pedal
When you press down on the brake pedal, it should feel firm and offer resistance as you apply the brakes. If you start to feel a squishy, spongy brake pedal, or if the pedal goes all the way to the floor, that’s a huge problem. Pump the brake pedal to see if you can regain some hydraulic pressure. If not, be prepared to downshift and use your emergency brake to stop your automobile.
3. Pulling to the Side
As you’re stopping, pay attention to whether the car pulls to the side or not. When there is no issue with the brakes, you should not feel any pull as you’re stopping. If your vehicle does pull to one side or the other, you may have a stuck caliper or warped rotor. Pulling while braking is a sign of brake trouble, whereas pulling while driving generally means your wheels are out of alignment.
4. Brakes that Smell Hot
You shouldn’t smell your brakes when you’re applying them. If something does smell hot, especially like burning carpet, chemicals, or rubber, your brakes could be overheating, and this makes for some very dangerous driving. Pull your vehicle over to a safe parking place and call for a tow truck. Driving with overheated brakes can cause them to fail completely.
5. Brake or ABS Dashboard Light
Your dash light is probably the last thing you want to see in reference to your brakes, especially if your parking brake isn’t engaged. The brake light is there for a reason, though. It’s letting you know that your car’s computer has detected something that isn’t quite right with the ABS or brakes, so you need to look into what’s happening.
Contact us at Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA. We can inspect your brakes for you and make sure that they’re in good working order.