Photo of part of a tire and a red brake showing through

Common Brake Issues


Brakes are easily one of the most important parts on your car. Without them, it is nearly impossible to drive safely. While there are a lot of parts of the braking system that can fail, there are some brake issues that are more common than others. Below we will discuss 6 of those common brake issues and how to resolve them.

Brake Issue #1: Your brake pedal feels soft or sinks to the floor.

If your brake pedal feels soft, spongy, or it sinks to the floor when you step on it, you likely have a leak somewhere in your brake system. Brake fluid moves through the master cylinder and transfers the force of pressing on the pedal to the vehicle’s brakes. This is how your car knows when it’s time to slow down and how quickly that slowing down should occur. If the brake fluid is leaking, this can change the brake’s resistance and limit your car’s stopping power. It’s important to have this fixed quickly so your vehicle can stop safely.

Brake Issue #2: Your brakes are pulsing or shaking.

If your brake pedal, steering wheel, or vehicle shakes or shudders while braking, this may indicate a problem with the rotors. Brake rotors are part of what creates the friction needed to slow your car. The surface of your car’s rotors can wear down over time or collect material from the brake pads. This wearing down or material collection can cause a warped or jagged surface on your rotors. This then causes the shaking or vibrating you feel. To fix this, the rotors must either be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake Issue #3: Your brakes are making unusual sounds.

Squealing, grinding, or squeaking can all indicate an issue with your car’s brake pads. While this is not the only reason brakes make unusual sounds, it is the most common. Brake pads rub against brake rotors to slow cars, and they are designed to squeak or squeal when they rub down to a certain point. This lets you know it’s time to change them. If there is grinding, it may mean the pads have worn off completely, and the metal from the brake pads is rubbing against the metal from the rotors. This can cause more costly damage to your vehicle, so take care to have your brake pads replaced before getting to this point.

Brake Issue #4: Your car pulls to the side while braking.

If you notice your car pulling to one side, this could indicate a number of issues. One culprit could be a faulty caliper. Calipers house the brake pads and pistons that press against rotors and create the slowing friction previously mentioned. Calipers are more commonly found on front wheels, but they are used on the back wheels of some vehicles as well. If one of your front calipers has stopped working, the car will pull in the direction of the side that is still working. Calipers can rust or corrode over time, especially if they are not regularly maintained. Replacing a faulty caliper will fix this issue.

Brake Issue #5: Your ABS light has turned on.

ABS lights indicate that some part of your anti-lock braking system has failed. While your brakes may not feel any different under normal driving conditions, a problem with your ABS will inhibit your ability to brake during emergency situations. Anti-lock braking systems are designed to keep your brakes from locking when you slam on the brake pedal. When functioning correctly, ABS will quickly pulse the brakes of your car off and on to stop any skidding from happening. When ABS fails, your car may skid out of control and become dangerous. It is important to have your car checked when you notice your ABS light has turned on.

Brake Issue #6: Your brakes make a chemical or burning smell while in use.

Generally, strange odors from your car are not a good sign. In the case of braking, a sharp or burning smell may indicate that your brakes are overheating. If this is happening, it can cause your brakes to fail. To prevent this, stop your car and allow the brakes to cool down. If you notice any smoke coming from the wheel, this may indicate a problem with your brake calipers. It is not safe to operate smelly or smoky vehicles. Call a towing service to transport your vehicle if it is in this condition.

In Conclusion

Because brakes are an essential part of your vehicle, it is very important to keep them properly maintained. If you think there is an issue with the brakes on your vehicle, call Restored Auto, LLC to schedule a time for maintenance. Depending on the type of brake issue, it may be safest to have your vehicle towed. Don’t delay on making repairs to your car’s brake system. Call us today!