Brakes are the most important part of your vehicle. Period. Quite often brakes can be neglected by car owners. Did you know worn brakes could add metres to your vehicle’s stopping distance, which could ultimately mean the difference between pulling up in time in an emergency or coming to a blow with another vehicle or object.
Here’s five signs you need to keep an eye (and ear) out for:
Spongy, less responsive pedal feel
Nobody knows your vehicle like you do. If the brake pedal is feeling spongy, less responsive and you notice that you have to push the pedal a lot harder than normal to pull up, then this is a sign there’s something wrong. It could be that there’s a brake fluid leak, or that air has somehow found its way into your brake lines. Either way, you need your brakes inspected immediately.
This is probably the most common brake problem we see. And the main reason is that the fibre (the part of your brake pad that comes in contact with your disc) is worn through to the metal. This is a major issue because your brake system wasn’t designed to perform in a metal on metal situation. There’s a small chance you could have a rock lodged in your disc or disc protector, with the rock rubbing on the disc causing a grinding noise, but it’s unlikely and simply not worth running the risk — you need to have your car inspected by a trained vehicle technician.
Pulling to the left or right
If your car pulls to the left or right when braking, then this is a sign that your brakes are working out of sync and not compressing evenly. There’s a number of things that can cause this, the first being uneven brake pads or worn discs, the second being a kink or crease (brake fluid flow restriction) in your brake line, or thirdly your suspension components could be worn and there’s movement in your control arms or suspension mount points. There are other reasons why your car would pull to one side when braking, but these are the most common. If you notice this, act right away.
This is very common. You’ll notice this most when you’re travelling at speed down a hill or pulling onto a freeway exit — the brake pedal will pulsate at your feet and the car will shudder like you have a flat tyre. It’s a clear sign your brake rotors are worn and warped. The amount of friction that brake discs undergo is phenomenal — the constant heating and cooling can cause your discs to warp, thus creating an uneven surface. This is why it’s very important to always use quality brake components and have your brakes inspected for wear every service interval — this is something we do every single vehicle service.
This is really only noticeable when you push the limits of your braking system. Ultimately, a good braking system should not be subject to fade. If you’re experiencing this, whether that’s while you’re towing, using your car at the race track (in which you might be in need of a brake system upgrade), or travelling down a hill, there’s things that can be done to correct this, such as fitting better quality brake pads, upgrading your brake fluid, discs, or even brake calipers in some situations (mostly for race applications).
If you’re experiencing brake issues with your vehicle don’t not put it off. Give us a call on (02) 9557 4000 to book your car in for a Tunehouse brake inspection.