You know how dangerous a damaged brake system is, which is why you should be aware of the warning signs of a damaged brake system. A brake warning light isn't the only sign that you can use to tell that there is a problem in your brake system. There are other signs you should look out for, and they include:
Steering Wheel Vibration When Braking
If your steering wheel vibrates when you brake, then the problem is most likely the rotor (disc brake). The brake pad pushes on the rotor, and the rotor causes enough friction on the wheels to stop the car. This friction generates a lot of heat.
Over time, the rotor wears down in different places, thins out and may even become warped. Such a damaged rotor will not give uniform braking power/friction, and it will vibrate. The brake system is connected to the steering wheel, it will vibrate too.
Vehicle Pulls To One Side When Braking
The brake linings are supposed to provide uniform friction, and hence braking power. If they have experienced uneven wear, then one side may exert more braking force than the other. This will cause the car to pull to one side as you brake. The same thing may happen if there is a foreign element in your brake fluid because the fluid will not transmit the same force as it normally does in its pure state.
Brakes Squeal When You Stop Short
Another sign that your brake needs to be checked is a squealing noise when you stop short. It is caused by high-frequency vibrations that occur if the brake:
- Linings are worn out or of low quality
- Front pads are loose
- Anti-rattle clips are damaged
- Disc needs machining
As you can see, a number of things can cause this squealing, so a professional mechanic diagnosis is what you need.
Pungent Smell Near the Wheels
Brakes operate on friction, but this friction is controlled so that it doesn't cause overheating. However, there are a number of damages that can occur on the brake system and cause too much friction. In such situations, overheating is the result and some of the components may get burned. Therefore, you should suspect a damaged brake if you sense a pungent burning smell emanating from around the wheel.
Treat any brake problem as a serious problem. This is not the time to start tinkering with the car or prove your DIY mechanic skills. Take your vehicle to a mechanic like Parker Automotive, Inc. for professional diagnosis and repair.