Warning signs of bad brakes

Checking your braking system is part of routine vehicle maintenance. Driving around with bad brakes puts you and others at risk. Let’s talk about how brakes work. The components of your braking system include brake fluid, rotors, the metal disc behind your wheel, calipers, the clamping part above the disc and brake pads, the removable part of the caliper. You are now  familiar with the names of brake components so how do they work? When you step on the brakes, the brake fluid sets off the calipers causing them to squeeze together on the rotor. The friction between the brake pads and the rotor stops the vehicle. As you can imagine brake pads wear out of time. There are a few warnings signs that you have bad brakes.

  • Squealing. You may hear a squealing noise while driving that goes away when you step on the brakes. This noise comes from your brake sensors. If the pads are worn to a dangerous level the sensor scrapes against the rotor.  Most newer model vehicles have brake sensors.
  • Harsh grinding sound. This is the metal from the caliper rubbing against the rotor. At this point your pads are gone and need to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Vibration. If your brake pedal vibrates you may have warped rotors.
  • Pulling. Vehicle pulls to one side while braking may indicate uneven wear or contaminated brake fluid. You will need to have your rotors checked and possibly a brake fluid flush.
  • Slow braking or pedal goes to the floor. You may have a brake fluid leak or air leak in the brake hose. Do you see a small puddle of fluid under the car after parking for awhile? It may be a brake fluid leak.

Nu Way Car Center in Arlington can check your braking system for you. If you have any of these warning signs, give us a call to set up an appointment. We will make sure you’re not driving around with bad brakes.