When you drive your vehicle, it is natural that you expect everything to go smoothly and to function flawlessly. People often tend to forget that, just like anything else, cars can have problems when it comes to their functioning.
However, not all car problems are the same. Some are more dangerous and require immediate action, while others could not be classified as an immediate priority. In other words, some problems need to be taken care of right away, while others may wait for a little bit.
When it comes to brake problems, they belong to the first category of car problems. Brakes are one of the most important components of the car, and, generally, they are the one responsible for your protection and safety. What to do if you notice that your brakes are not functioning well?
First and most important thing to do is – don’t panic. It might be possible that the problem can be easily solved and that you will be able to drive your vehicle again before you know it. There are a few common car brake problems, so you can check out the list below in order to determine if some of these might be bugging your car.
1. The car is pulling to one side
You can notice that your car is pulling to one side when you are braking. Not only is this frustrating, but it can also be potentially dangerous. Why does this happen? There are many reasons which can cause your car pulling to one side.
First, it might have nothing to do with the brakes. For example, it might be that the problem is in the tires. If your front tires have broken belts, you will feel the vehicle pulling to the one side. This happens because the surface of the tires expands once you brake and the pressure on the tire in question gets bigger. If you are wondering what to do, the first thing is pulling over somewhere safe and checking the condition of the tires. If this is the scenario, all you have to do is replace the tires and you are good to go. In case your tires are okay, then you might be facing the problem with the caliper.
Don’t worry, this is a very common problem and it is dangerous because the caliper can simply freeze up, and therefore go unnoticed for a long period of time. The piston on the caliper can get stuck in the bore. Also, when the dust boot (which is protecting the piston) gets torn, the metal in the caliper may get corroded or rusty. If you determine that this is the problem which causes the pulling to the one side, you need to change the caliper.
2. The brake pedal is pulsing up and down
One of the most common causes of the brake pedal pulsing up and down involves the rotors. This can happen particularly if you drive a lot on the highway, or even if you often apply great pressure on your brakes. As time passes by, the rotors heat and cool thousands of times, and this causes them to lose their initial shape.
The resolution to this problem is binary. If the rotors are still thick, you can resurface them. On the other hand, if they have completely lost their thickness, you will need to replace them. Once you deal with replacing the rotor, you might want to consider changing the pads as well. They can frequently get worn out, so if you notice that this is the case, change them right away.
3. The brake pedal is soft
This is the problem which bugs the drivers a lot, since it is very dangerous. Note that, if you notice this problem, you should pull over and deal with it immediately. What occurs when your brake pedal is too soft? You might notice that you need to pump it or that it sinks to the floor with no resistance.
This usually happens because there is a leak in the braking system. In other words, it is possible that the master cylinder is, wither externally or internally, leaking. So, what to do if this happens? You should check the brake fluid. As it has been mentioned, the leak may happen internally or externally. Therefore, if you cannot detect anything strange in the external area, the leak is probably internal.
Driving your car at this point will be a huge mistake, since you probably won’t be able to stop it. So, the safest solution is bringing it to the auto mechanic. It would be very good if you were in a situation to bring it to the actual professionals who will know exactly how to deal with the situation and who are trained for these kinds of brake problems.
For instance, you could check out TediousRepairs for more information.
4. The steering wheel is vibrating
There are really no rules when it comes to this problem. In other words, it might occur to whichever model or brand of the car. It manifests in such a way that when you are driving and you hit the brakes, your steering wheel starts to shake. The causes of this can be numerous. For instance, it might be that your rotors need to be changed or resurfaced. If you need to change them entirely, it will cost you more.
However, if you only need to resurface them, you are lucky, since this will be a lot cheaper. Another possible reason for your steering wheel to vibrate involves excessive heat. In other words, if you can detect hot spots on the rotors, it is highly likely that they have been exposed to the heat. Also, rain or humidity can damage them as well.
This usually happens when the car is being exposed to the rain for a long time, or in other words, if you don’t move it from a place where it is not protected. In this way, the rotors can get rusty and damaged. In any case, you should assess if they need complete replacement or only resurfacing.
To sum up, if you notice that your brakes are not functioning well, don’t panic and try to determine the core of the problem. These problems might manifest themselves in a number of various ways and, even though that something doesn’t seem to be related to the brake malfunctioning (like the vibration of the steering wheel), it is worth of being inspected. You never know. Also, even if you understand what the problem is, but you are not a hundred percent sure that you can resolve it, it is always the best to hire a professional.
So, don’t hesitate to call an auto mechanic who will know exactly what to do and how to solve your problem. After all, the brakes are directly related to your own and the safety of other drivers, so their well-functioning is one of the most important priorities.