5 Signs You Should Take Your Car in for a Brake Check
Brakes are a crucial component of your vehicle.
They ensure safety on the road and help regulate your speed as you’re driving in the fast lane.
However, like many other car components, your brakes won’t last forever. A brake check is necessary to prevent road accidents and collisions. When a vehicle has faulty brakes or a worn-out brake system, it can be dangerous to drive on the road.
Brake problems may increase accidents and cause serious injury to another driver. Knowing the first few tell-tale signs, you need a brake check is essential to road safety. Let’s dive in.
1. Brake Wear Warning Light
The most obvious sign you need your brake checked is if the brake warning light turns on.
This might mean either of the following:
- The vehicle is low on brake fluid
- You have inadvertently activated the emergency brake
- There’s a problem with the (Anti-Lock Braking System) ABS unit
- There’s an issue with the sensors
2. Squeaking Noises
Have you ever heard squeaking sounds while driving on the road and are unsure if it’s coming from your vehicle? Squeaking noises are another symptom of a brake problem.
The squeaking noise usually comes from the built-in wear indicator letting you know it’s time to replace your brake pads.
Like many vehicle parts, brake pads are prone to wear and tear. As the pads get thinner, the rotor surface gets into contact with a small metal tab — similar to a needle on a vinyl record.
If you’ve ruled out other car problems, the noise can be traced back to a worn-out brake pad that requires immediate checking.
Other noises will require brake checking for a proper diagnosis. Depending on the extent of the issue, the car may need cleaning, adjustment, lubrication, or even new parts.
For instance, a worn-out rotor prevents the brake pads from pressing flat against the rotor when pushing down on the brakes. This situation also produces vibrations, generating noise.
3. Changes In The Brake Pedal
You must also be mindful of how your brakes feel when applying force or pushing down on them.
Brake pads should always be as firm as possible. If you notice any changes when hitting your brakes, consider bringing it to an auto servicing centre to avoid getting into dangerous situations and costly repairs.
Faulty brake pedals can feel differently, depending on the problem:
Soft or Weak Pedals
This could mean a problem with the air in the hydraulic brake lines. In many cases, the calipers may also be faulty, or the master cylinder requires fluid.
You may need a brake fluid flush, top-up, or replacement in such cases.
Sensitive Pedals/”Grabbing” Brakes
Your brake pads may need cleaning or replacing if you feel like they suddenly “grab” when pushing down. Other culprits may be a caliper misalignment, disc issues, or pressure build-up.
If your brake pedals require greater force when pushing down, there is an uneven force on one side of the brakes.
In most cases, you can trace this problem back to the brake boosters, which increase the force applied to the brake pedal. A faulty brake booster can’t sustain vacuum pressure.
To help you figure out if the brake booster is the issue, here’s a check you can do:
- While the car is off, push down the brake pedal several times. It should get increasingly difficult to do so.
- With your foot still on the pedal, start the engine. If the pedal sinks before becoming firm, there are no issues with the brake booster. However, if the pedal stays firm, the booster is likely faulty.
4. Car Is Pulling Off To One Side
A vehicle pulling to one side can mean a host of factors. But if you have ruled out wheel misalignment, the clear culprit is a fault brake hose or an issue with the caliper. You need to visit an auto servicing shop in Singapore that can help remove and replace the lodged caliper.
Meanwhile, a collapsed brake hose is a bit difficult to diagnose. The brake hose may seem fine on the outside, but it is causing a restriction in the interior. You may diagnose this by examining how the car pulls once you hit the brakes.
If there is a collapsed brake hose, the car will move towards one side for a few seconds after applying the brakes. But it will return to normal afterwards.
In severe cases, the brake hose allows the fluid to pass through the caliper but won’t return to the master cylinder. This prevents the caliper from fully releasing, causing the swerve or pull to remain.
5. Worn Suspension Parts
Brake checking should not just include the brake components, but it must also consider the suspension system. This is because the suspension is responsible for shifting the vehicle’s weight when braking and accelerating.
A bad suspension could lead to several issues when breaking. For example, it could feel that the car is nose-diving when drivers engage with the brake system.
Problems with the suspension can also prevent the vehicle from arriving at a complete stop after braking.
As soon as you notice this problem, it’s advisable to bring your car to a professional auto shop for proper brake checking. Doing this ensures you drive with a fully-functional suspension system, preventing an accident.
You may want to look for other suspension failures, such as excessive bouncing when driving over bumps or clunking noises when passing on rough surfaces. Whatever the case, have your car inspected immediately by a professional.
Finding out if your car has a brake problem can be difficult if you don’t know which signs to watch out for. But if you spot any of these problems while driving, take your car immediately to a car servicing shop.
For more information on brake maintenance, repair, or replacement, contact Kee Yong Auto. We’re a family-run Sin Ming car workshop offering specialised Jaguar, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW, and Land Rover car packages.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SIGNS YOU NEED TO TAKE YOUR CAR FOR A BRAKE CHECK
How Long Do Car Brakes Last?
Most car brakes will last between 25,000 and 75,000 kilometres.
Should You Have All Your Brake Pads Replaced?
It would be best if you replaced both front and rear brake pads simultaneously. Unless there’s a severe problem, brake pads should wear out simultaneously to prevent dangerous driving.
Can You Change Your Own Brakes?
You can replace your brake pads if you’re familiar with your motor vehicle. It’s best to consult the owner’s manual for special instructions or information.
What To Expect When Replacing Your Brake Pads?
After replacing your brake pads, you can observe an improved performance and efficiency with your braking system.
Why Does My Car Shake After Braking?
Your car is likely shaking when braking due to a damaged rotor. Repeated brake pad application on the rotor will wear away the material during contact.