Every time you head out on the road in your car, you want to be confident that you and your passengers are safe. But many drivers tend to take their car’s braking system for granted, and if your brakes fail, you could be in big trouble. But it’s highly unlikely that your brakes will let you down without first giving you some kind of audible or visual warning.
If you live or work in McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Lewisville, or the surrounding areas of Texas, you can head to the service center at Huffines Kia McKinney to have your brakes inspected and serviced by our expert factory-trained technicians. But how can you tell it’s time to have your brakes checked? Here are some of the most common signs to look and listen for.
If you don’t use your car for a while after it’s been washed or left in the rain, a thin layer of rust can appear on your brake rotors. This might cause your brakes to squeak the first few times you use them until the rust is cleaned off by the pads. That’s nothing to worry about.
But if your brakes squeal every time you apply them, it is probably the brake-pad wear indicator letting you know it’s time for new pads. A small metal tab is built into the brake pads, and when the pads get thin, the tab touches the surface of the rotors to give you a warning sign.
If your brakes make a horrible grinding noise, it’s likely you’ve ignored the warning from the brake wear indicators and your pads have completely worn away. With no brake pad material left, the brake calipers will grind on the rotors and your brakes won’t stop the car effectively. As well as new pads, you’ll probably need new rotors too.
If you’ve had new brake pads fitted, but your brakes still squeal, it could be that your brake rotors are glazed. Heavy braking causes your brake pads and rotors to heat up excessively and can burn the metal of the discs and make them warp. Dark rings or blue marks on the rotors mean you’ll need to have them replaced.
Your brakes can squeak or grind for other reasons, such as a foreign object lodged in a caliper. If you hear any unusual noises when you brake, like squealing, grinding, rattling, or thumping, you should bring the car to Huffines Kia McKinney to have an expert technician investigate the cause.
Depending on the design of your wheels, you should be able to inspect the brake pads and rotors through the spokes. If there’s less than a quarter inch left on the pads, it’s time to replace them. Also, check the rotors for discoloration or damage.
Another visible sign of a brake problem is a puddle of brake fluid under your car. A brake fluid leak is serious, and you shouldn’t drive the car with insufficient fluid. You should have your car towed to the service center at Huffines Kia McKinney to have the leak repaired.
Your Car Takes Longer to Stop
Your car’s braking distance can mean the difference between stopping safely or risking a fender bender, or worse. When you notice your car is taking longer to stop or the brakes don’t feel as responsive as usual, it’s definitely time to have an expert check your braking system. Several things can cause an increase in your car’s stopping distance, such as worn pads, a leak in a brake line, or a brake fluid leak.
Reduced Brake Pedal Resistance
You get used to the way your brake pedal feels when you apply the brakes. If your brake pedal becomes softer, or you have to push it almost to the floor to stop the car, you need to have the braking system inspected. It could indicate a brake fluid leak, air in the system, or a problem with the hydraulics. You should have the issue diagnosed by a professional brake technician.
Brake Pedal Vibration
If you notice vibration or pulsating when you press the brake pedal, it’s usually an indication of a problem with the brake rotors. The rotors can become warped, bent, or damaged by too much heavy braking, or simply when they become old and thin. That means the brake pads don’t have a smooth and even surface to press on, which causes the vibration. You’ll need to have the rotors replaced to remedy the problem.
Alternatively, if your steering wheel shakes or the whole car vibrates when you hit the brakes, it could be a braking system issue affecting other components of the steering or suspension. It’s important to have the problem checked by a professional technician. However, if the shaking happens even when you’re not braking, it’s more likely to be caused by misaligned wheels or some other problem.
Your Car Pulls to One Side
When your brakes are working properly, your car should stop in a straight line when you brake. If you notice that the car starts pulling to one side or the other during braking, it’s usually down to the brake linings wearing unevenly or foreign material in the brake fluid. Any deterioration in your car’s handling makes it more dangerous to drive, so you need to take it to a brake specialist to have the brake lines or brake fluid replaced.
The odor of burning brake pads is very distinctive and unpleasant. You might expect to smell the pads under prolonged braking, such as when driving down a long, steep hill. But when you notice the burning smell with normal driving, there could be a brake system problem, or you might just need better-quality brake pads.
Try to avoid frequent heavy braking when you drive, and you’ll find your car’s braking system components will last longer and cost you less to maintain. But if you notice any of the above signs, there could be a serious problem with your brakes. Contact our service center immediately at Huffines Kia McKinney, and we’ll get it fixed. Better still, schedule a regular brake service to keep your brakes in top working condition and prevent dangerous issues from developing in the first place.