Help With Diagnosing Brake Problems

November 1st, 2012 by

Middletown Honda Serice CenterRecently, I ran into a series of brake problems that could have seriously threatened my life and the safety of my vehicle. Luckily, I was able to spot these brake problems before they became too serious and got them replaced quickly. Avoiding these kinds of problems can help you avoid serious accidents and can even help lower your insurance rates.

Read the following diagnostic steps to decide if your brakes are damaged or operating poorly.

Brake Pulling

One of the earliest signs of brake damage is brake “pulling.” This means that your car will pull to the left or right when you hit the brakes. Brake pulling occurs when off-center grooves get worn into the brake pads and change the direction of the car whenever you hit the brakes.

This can be a serious problem if you are in traffic or trying to avoid an accident. Be careful not to confuse brake pulling with pulling caused by weather conditions such as snow or rain.

Noisy Brakes

Your brakes should not make much noise when they are operating properly. Squealing brakes are a tell-tale sign that your brake pads or rotors are wore down and need replacing. Brakes are specifically designed to begin making these kinds of noises when they need repair. Fix your brakes before they begin grinding or making deep moaning sounds. They are nearly gone at that point and can cause serious damage.

Spongy Brake Pedal

Another dangerous sign is when your brake pedal doesn’t feel quite right. It should feel firm and definitely should not sink to the floor. If your brake pedal feels “spongy” or sinks to the floor easily, you are likely out of brake fluid and must get it replaced. This can also indicate more serious brake problems such as a malfunctioning electronic system.

What You Can Do

Unless you have experience repairing brakes, it’s best to trust an expert to take care of your brakes. It isn’t a very difficult process, but aligning the brakes properly as well as adding the correct amount of fluid may be beyond an amateur’s abilities. Replacing all your brakes can be an expensive repair job as it can take several hours.