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Top 10 Brake Problems That Every Driver Should Know

In this article, you will learn what are Brake Problems? Their causes and remedies. You can also download the PDF file at the bottom of the article.

Brake Problems

The most important safety feature on every car isn’t just seatbelts, airbags, traction control, or complex autonomous driving aids, it’s also brakes too. It is a mechanical device that stops motion by absorbing energy from a moving system.

Brakes help you to stop or slow down your vehicle at a split second preventing incidents and accidents.

Frequent braking reduces their performance, so brake servicing is essential to improve your vehicle’s maintenance. While you take care of your brakes, they will take care of you when you need them most.

After regular maintenance, if the brakes are still experiencing a problem or issues, then your vehicle brakes may need professional inspection and servicing. There are many brake problems that we are not even aware of. So let’s see what are those.

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Common Car Brake Problems

  1. Brake light indication on dashboard
  2. Squeaking sound
  3. Grinding noise when you apply brakes
  4. Vibration when applying brakes
  5. Getting soft brake pedal
  6. Leaking of brake fluid
  7. Brake pulling
  8. Sudden braking or stopping
  9. Total brake failure
  10. Burning smell from brakes

#1 Brake Light Indication On Dashboard

Brake Light Indication On Dashboard

Many cars but not all, have common warning lights on their dashboard for the braking system. If your car’s dashboard brake indicator light stays on, it indicates that there is a problem with the brake system that may be preventing you from stopping your vehicle. It may occur when you need new brake pads.

According to the car warning light indicator, if the light is yellow, there may be an anti-lock braking system problem. If this happens intermittently, then it could be a glitch in the system. To check the vehicle, turn off the engine and take it to your trusted mechanic.

There are several steps you can take to avoid this problem, such as checking the brake light switch, replacing the fuses, disassembling the car battery, replacing burnt-out bulbs, or keeping your brake pedal free of dirt.

#2 Squeaking Sounds

Squeaking Sounds

If you are hearing a squeaking sound when you are driving slow, it is likely a problem with your brakes. It is because of some poorly fitted brake pads or discs that are causing the problem and it is also a sign of bad wheel bearings.

This means that your brake pads are worn out and must be replaced before damage to the rotor, which can be an expensive fix. This problem happens regularly in every braking system.

This may happen for many reasons, due to poor lubrication, brake pad material, brake pad failure, moisture in the brake, or dirt and debris in the brake assembly. You can avoid this by applying grease to the brake pads, installing a set of shims, or replacing the pads and rotors.

#3 Grinding Sound When You Apply Brakes

If the brake makes a harsh grinding sound when braking, it is likely that the brake disc and caliper are rubbing together. This is because when your brake pads are less than the recommended thickness, they will start making a noise every time you press the brake pedal.

It is not safe to drive on grinding sound, because brakes are an important component of safe driving. If your brakes start to wear out, do not continue driving. One of the best ways to fix this problem is to replace your brake pads right away, but in this case, you may also need to replace the discs or rotors.

#4 Vibration When Applying Brakes

The reason you feel the vibration through the brake pedal is because of the brake rotor or rotating discs that are pressed against the brake pads by calipers so that the wheel wears out unevenly. Usually, vibration occurs because there is some kind of imperfection on the surface of the rotors.

When this happens you will experience vibrations through the steering wheel throughout your car. The faster you go, the worse it will get, and you’ll also feel a burning smell when you stop.

So how can you stop it? You need a trained technician, that he should inspect your vehicle to tell you whether it is recommended to replace brake pads or brake rotors. A new set of brake pads may be the easiest way to get rid of your vehicle’s brake vibrations.

#5 Getting Soft Brake Pedal

Getting Soft Brake Pedal

This is the most commonly seen problem in the braking system, it is affected by the air accumulated in the brake lines causing your brakes to become soft or spongy. The air entry into the brake lines prevents brake fluid from flowing, causing the brake pedal to feel spongy or soft.

If the brakes become completely soft or spongy, it’s time to replace or flush the brake fluid. You can get rid of the air by flushing the brake fluid. Plus, this fresh fluid protects other components of the brake such as the master cylinder and ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System).

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#6 Leaking of Brake Fluid

Leaking of Brake Fluid

The brake systems in vehicles are generally activated by brake fluid. It is designed to help transfer the momentum and force generated when you press the brake pedal. The leaking fluid causes the brake pressure to drop, resulting in the vehicle being unable to stop.

It is when the pads or shoes and their associated rotor and drum wear out, the pistons operating the pads or shoes can become hyperextended, breaking the cylinder seal and leaking fluid into the affected area.

To avoid this you need to check brake hoses that may be leaking, you can just go to an auto parts seller and buy new hoses. It is important to have enough brake fluid in your vehicle to ensure safety.

#7 Brake Pulling

Brake Pulling

If your car is pulling left or right when braking, it is due to a broken brake hose. A broken brake hose can cause the calipers to move roughly, pulling the vehicle to one side when the brakes are applied.

Other common causes of brake pulling are worn suspension parts, uneven tire pressure, or faulty wheel bearings. As a solution, you should always check your rear brake, front brake, steering components, and suspension components to see if they are causing the pull.

For example, if the suspension components are fitted lose it can also cause pulling on the steering. In addition, check your tire pressure and ensure that each tire has the recommended amount of air.

#8 Sudden Braking or Stopping

This problem arises due to the sudden lock-up of the brakes. A sudden stop of the tires causes the vehicle to slide over an area of ​​the tire onto the sidewall of the road, creating a flat area. Braking suddenly means that your tire has burst, it is due to putting too much pressure on the brake pedal.

It’s probably not a brake issue at all. Still, if you need a solution, don’t press the brake, instead apply pressure on it slowly and smoothly. When you have stopped or slowed down, take your foot off the brake slowly and do not release the brake pedal suddenly.

#9 Total Brake Failure

Total Brake Failure

Usually, brakes operate under hydraulic pressure, so without fluid pressure, your brakes won’t work. The most common cause of brake failure is a leak in the brake lines, due to which there is no fluid pressure left in the brake lines. Therefore, there is not enough fluid left to transmit pressure from the pedal to the tire.

Brakes can also fail when discs or drums are worn out, so they may not have enough friction to stop the wheels. In this scenario, the vehicle needs to stop so you have to take certain steps. Pump the brake pedal continuously and depress your parking brake slowly. If this isn’t working, you can lower the car one gear at a time to slow down the engine.

#10 Burning Smell From Brakes

Burning Smell From Brakes
Image: Nubrakes

If you have recently installed new brakes in your vehicle, the heat produced during that reaction causes polymerization known as curing. During this polymerization reaction, a variety of gases are released on your brake pads, those gases can smell like burning.

Some brakes will not smell even when they are new, while others may smell for a long time. If so, give it a few more days. If the smell continues for more than a few days, you should take your car for a brake repair service.

Wrapping It Up

As we have already discussed, brake problems arise when you drive your car more often. Delaying essential services can put you at costly risk. Whenever you experience braking problems or want to have your brakes checked, you need to contact a professional mechanic.


Now, I hope you have learned about the “Brake Problems” and found something you haven’t heard before. Still, if you have any questions or doubts regarding this article, feel free to ask in the comments, I will respond to you. So, if you liked this article, then please share it with your friends.

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References:

  1. https://www.dummies.com/
  2. https://www.lesschwab.com/

All images used are under the Creative Commons License.

About Yousef

He is a mechanical engineering student, he likes to write about engineering stuff and he is really interested in learning about new technology in machines.

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