The brakes on your car work hard every time you go out for a spin, enabling you to stop safely and efficiently so you can get from point A to point B in one piece. However, they, like many other systems in your vehicle, will require periodic maintenance to ensure that they are operating as intended.
How Your Car’s Brakes Work
When you press the brake pedal, the force from your foot transfers some of the hydraulic fluid (which is incompressible) from the system into your brake calipers. This force, which is magnified through the calipers, forces the brake pads down onto your rotors. The pads slow the rotation of the rotors, which in turn slows your vehicle.
This is a very high-level view, but even from this height, you can see that there are many sensitive moving parts that must all work together to slow your vehicle in time. The process also produces a lot of friction, which will over time wear down your pads and potentially your rotors, requiring service.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, then it’s time for you to get serious about searching for “brake repair near me.”
- Your brake light is on
This is understandably the easiest and most straightforward way to know that your brakes need service. The brake light can come on for many reasons – for example, if the parking brake is engaged, which does not necessarily signify a problem – but it can also come on if your fluid is low or there’s a problem with your anti-lock braking system (ABS).
It doesn’t always come on when there’s a problem with your brakes, but if it does, take your vehicle in for service as soon as possible.
- Your car is leaking fluid
Vehicles are full of lots of fluids, not the least of which is brake fluid, but any leaking fluid is cause for concern. However, if your calipers are leaking hydraulic fluid, you might notice this as a stream of drops trailing from behind one of your wheels. This is a significant problem because the brake system can’t work without brake fluid. Stop driving right away if your vehicle is leaking fluid and have your car brought in for service.
- Squeaking, squealing, grinding, rumbling, or vibrating while braking
Another telltale sign of brake issues is some sort of sound or vibration when you apply the brakes. If your car squeaks, squeals, grinds, rumbles, you feel vibrations, or it makes any other odd sounds when you apply the brakes, it probably is an indication that your pads have worn down. Your next thought should be “I need to find a provider for brake repair near me right away!”
- Your car pulls to one side or the other when you attempt to stop
Another sign that your brakes are wearing down is your car pulling to one side or the other when you apply the brakes. This could also potentially be caused by an issue with alignment, but either way, it’s a cause for concern and a reason to have your vehicle brought in for service. Don’t chance it because the more you drive on it, the more your pads will wear down.
- The brakes feel soft or spongy
Vehicles that have not had their brake pads serviced for a long period of time will lose the ability to stop efficiently. You might notice this in the form of your car simply seeming to lag when you try to stop it, but you can sometimes also feel it through the brake pedal itself. This could be a sign of worn-out brakes.
Sometimes, your brake pedal will feel softer or spongier than usual. If you notice this more and more over time it’s almost a certain sign that you need brake service.
- Your car shakes or rocks when you hit the brakes hard
If, when you hit the brakes hard, your car rocks or shakes, or seems almost to bounce up and down, it may be a sign that you might need brake repair service. Actually, this is usually a sign that your shocks have worn down, but you can’t tell from the symptom alone, so to be sure, you should bring your vehicle in for service.
- Your steering wheel vibrates or shakes when you brake
Finally, if you apply the brakes and they have started to wear, you may hear nothing at all, and there may be no shaking, bouncing, or vibrating. Instead, your steering wheel may shake back and forth. This could be caused by other conditions and might not be a brake problem, but again, you need to be certain – so the next thought this time should also be “I need to take my car in for brake repair near me!” Even if it isn’t the brakes, a qualified automotive service technician will help you get to the bottom of it.
Bring It into a Borst Automotive Location Near You!
Scheduling a brake repair or replacement appointment is easy with Borst Automotive. You can make appointments easily online before coming into one of our repair shops, and we have four locations conveniently dispersed throughout the state of Arizona, staffed by our friendly and helpful teams of ASE-certified technicians.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, make an appointment to have your vehicle checked out – you can bring it in to one of our auto repair shops for a brake inspection to determine if you need to replace any brake parts. Visit our locations page to find the shop nearest you and give us a call to get started.