When you are driving your car and apply the brakes, do you hear noises from the front? If so, you probably have a set of brakes that is sending you a message, a message that goes something like “Hey, How about a little attention down here.” In this article, we will look at some of the things that may indicate your brakes do need a little attention and should be checked out before any serious problems develop.
How They Work
First, let’s look at how today’s brakes function. Most cars today have disc brakes in the front of the car. These function in much the same way as the brakes on your bike does. When you squeeze the brakes on your bike, a set of rubber pads grip both sides of the wheel rim. Automobile brakes do about the same thing except that instead of rubber pads, a hydraulic system squeezes special brake pads on discs that are fixed to the wheel rims.
Brake Pads Wear Out
Because disc brake systems uses friction to work, brake pads eventually wear down and need to be replaced. This is the whole noise thing. When brake pads wear down, they can make all sorts of noises. The manufacturers actually make them that way. So…when you hear noise coming from your brakes, have a mechanic look them over in the next day or two. Take it from our technical resource, Kindle Dodge of Cape May Court House, NJ, don’t wait too long or you could cause more damage.
Feeling the Pulse
If your brake pedal pulses rapidly when you step on the brakes, then you may have one or more things going on. If your brake rotor is out-of-round, or you have a stuck piston in your brake caliper assembly, your brake pedal may pulse. Obviously, this is a serious situation that you should have looked at by a professional mechanic.
Does your car seem to have a “soft brake pedal.” A soft pedal is one that goes practically to the floor before the brakes engage. Sometimes you even have to pump it up before the brakes seem to work (which is quite scary.) This obviously is a brake-related problem but a problem with the hydraulic system itself, such as air in the brake line. This usually requires a common procedure called “bleeding the brakes” or some other brake-related repair.
In general, you can stay out of trouble with your car’s brakes just by keeping your eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary. Brake systems today are designed such that they rarely fail – your car will stop when you apply the brakes- but its best to see a mechanic within a day or so when you hear or feel your brakes looking for a little attention.”