5 Warning Signs Your Car Brakes May Be Failing

Sunday, November 7, 2021


Almost 40,000 people were involved in vehicular fatalities in 2020, the most since 2007. Auto safety regulators struggle to keep up with car brakes or mechanical failures that cause these incidents.

Some signs of brake failure are obvious, while others are less apparent. This short guide will give you five warning signs that your car brakes need maintenance, so make sure to keep reading!


1. Slow Stopping Response

You may find yourself in a situation where you require your car to make an immediate stop. Sometimes it feels like your vehicle's brakes aren't stopping fast enough. Or, they aren't as responsive when engaging with the brake system.

When the brake pads are worn out, they lose the friction they need to stop. They are not able to generate stopping power with the rotors to slow down your vehicle. This can also be an indication of a leak in the braking system.

2. High Pitched Bellowing

While attempting to brake, you may hear a high-pitched bellowing sound. This could reflect a deteriorating braking system. When applying the brake, if you hear this sound, it's not immediately detrimental. Your brakes are not immediately breaking down.

The bellowing may come from a small piece of metal connecting to your brake pads. This sound is foreshadowing a failing brake system. The sound is meant to alert you so you can replace your brake pads in time.

3. Grinding Sounds

Sometimes certain individuals will miss the screeching noise, informing them that their brake pads are low. What follows is an even worse sound. You will begin to hear a harsh grinding noise.

This mechanical grinding or growling is a sign that the brake pads are completely worn out. At this stage, it is unlikely that a brake pad can have a simple replacement. At this point, the interior metal is rubbing against the rotor.

In a short time, this can scratch the rotor and melt the metal altogether. This is an immediate safety hazard, as it can cause your brakes to stick. This will require an immediate diagnosis.

A visual diagnosis can help diagnose brake problems. You can see the physical brake pad pressing against the rotor pressing between the wheel's spokes.

4. Brake Pedal Vibration

When you have a warped rotor, it causes a vibration that pulsates through the brake pedal. Irresponsible braking isn't the only cause of warping in the braking system.

If any rotor becomes too worn or thin, they are also susceptible to warping. This will require an immediate replacement. In addition, if the pads are less than a quarter-inch thick, they will require replacement.

5. Spongy Brakes

It's a bad sign if you need to press your pedal almost to the floor. This can mean that you're low on brake fluid. It can also mean there's air in the brake fluid or that your brake pads are too thin.

It can also allude to symptoms of a failing hydraulic system. This can connect to an issue involved with leaky brakes as well. Many of these signs will alert the computer system and show a brake warning light.

Car Brakes

It is important to diagnose failing brakes before they become a serious issue. If they fail, it can lead to a slew of car problems beyond braking systems. Make sure to follow these tips to help triangulate the issue with your car brakes.

Make sure to pull over if you are experiencing any signs of serious braking failure or overheating while driving. You can allow the brakes to cool down and diagnose car issues.

Check out our repair services to help diagnose a braking issue and set up a maintenance appointment!

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