Your car carries you and your family, which is pretty valuable cargo. Your car’s brakes are essential to ensure safety. The braking system on most cars goes unnoticed since it is a low involvement component and is usually ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Most of us don’t pay much attention to our brakes until a problem crops up. Usually, brake issues are noticed due to a grinding sensation and sponginess in the brake pedal. Here are some aspects of your brakes to watch out for:
A judder or jerkiness in your brake pedal can be the result of a warped or uneven brake disc. Although your local mechanic will tell you about how the issue can be fixed by machining the discs, in the long run, it will affect your discs’ life. The best thing to do is install a brand-new set of discs from your authorised service centre. A new set of discs will solve the brake judder.
Increase in pedal effort:
Usually, increase in pedal effort in modern cars is linked directly with brake booster failure. The brake booster, a device that uses pressure from the exhaust system to add to the forces applied on the master cylinder has a diaphragm, which could easily get damaged. One must always remember to change the brake booster and the master cylinder as one unit and never individually.
Always top up your brake fluid:
Brake fluid or brake oil as commonly known is one of the most critical parts of your brake system. It is the brake fluid’s movement that acts upon the master cylinder and slave cylinder’s pistons to actuate the calliper pistons. Always remember to bleed the brake system after every service. Also, brake bleeding should be done at least once a year just as a precaution. One must also be extra careful while filling the brake fluid container so as to make sure no stray object like treads or dirt enters in it. A stray foreign object can cause havoc to the brake system.
A squeal from one’s brakes is usually an indication of worn or glazed brake pads. The squealing noise comes from wear indicators which are inbuilt in the brake pads that comes in contact with the brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point of needing replacement. This design is meant to tell you that it’s time to check the brakes and usually change your brake pads. Unfortunately, most people ignore the squealing and wait until they hear the grinding, which means that the brakes have ground through the wear indicators and into the rotors. If you hear squealing, get your brakes checked immediately. Also remember, there are no wear indicators on the rear brakes. Have these checked every six months or when you have the tyres rotated.
ABS Warning Light:
Although not literally a mechanically related brake issue, many cars with antilock brakes show a lit ABS failure warning light. In most cases, this is due to corrosion in the electrical plugs leading to the wheel speed sensors or the wiring harness. It is best to get them repaired before the problem gets complicated and replacement of sensors is required.
The best way to avoid brake issues is to check your brakes every six months to avoid unpleasant surprises. Brakes are complicated and servicing or changing parts is best left to an authorised service centre and not your roadside mechanic.