How to Identify and Address Common Car Brake Problems

Your brakes play an essential role in your and your passengers’ safety. It’s vital to understand what to watch out for so you can address problems before they become severe.

If you’re experiencing shaking in your steering wheel and brake pedal, it could indicate that your rotors are warped from metal-on-metal contact. Take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Brake Pedal Feels Soft

If you feel a pulsation and vibration traveling through your brake pedal or steering wheel, this is a sure sign that the brake system needs attention from brake repair Edmonds WA. It is essential to bring your car in for this service before the worn pads cause the rotors to become warped from metal-on-metal friction and require expensive repair.

It is possible for a leak to develop without the presence of visible fluid or puddles on your driveway. This can happen due to corrosion forming holes in the brake lines or the fittings. Air in the system can also create a soft pedal since air compresses more than liquids.

The most common reason for a spongy or soft brake pedal is a loss of hydraulic pressure. This can be caused by external leaks or a faulty master cylinder or pushrod. If this is the case, it will be necessary to have the leaking parts replaced.

Brake Pedal Feels Hard

The brakes are a vital part of your car and must be in good condition for your safety. But sometimes, things happen, and you might need to visit a mechanic to get these issues fixed.

The most common cause for a car brake pedal that is hard to push down is air in the system. This happens because your master cylinder has seals that need to be in good condition, but over time, these can wear down and allow air into the system. This reduces the design’s pressure, making pushing the brake pedal harder.

Other reasons for a hard-to-press-down car brake pedal include the following:

  • A loose or damaged diaphragm in the brake booster.
  • Leaking vacuum hoses.
  • A lousy wheel/caliper cylinder.

Sometimes, the problem might be a simple fix, such as replacing a vacuum hose or the brake booster diaphragm. In other cases, a brake fluid bleed might be required.

Brake Pedal Feels Squeaky

The brakes are one of your car’s most vital components, so paying attention to any unusual braking behavior is essential. A spongy or mushy feeling when you apply pressure to the pedal is a sure sign that it is time for an inspection and repair.

If your vehicle is pulling to one side under braking, this can be caused by a caliper issue. When the small pistons inside a caliper get damaged or rusted, they cannot correctly apply pressure to the rotor, which could lead to unbalanced stopping and lopsided wear on your brake pads.

A spongy or sluggish pedal can also indicate air in the brake lines. If you cannot pump the brakes back up to their original level of firmness, it is likely time for a new master cylinder. Using a brake fluid flush will also help to clear out any old and contaminated brake fluid.

Brake Pedal Feels Dead

A healthy brake pedal should be firm and offer resistance when pushing it down. A sinking, spongy, or mushy pedal means that the hydraulic pressure that typically forces your brake pads to clamp down on your car’s rotors is lost somewhere in the system.

The most common cause of this problem is a leak in the master cylinder that’s causing air to be sucked into the system and lower the hydraulic pressure. Continuing to drive your car with this issue could lead to brake failure and put you and your passengers at serious risk.

To fix this, you’ll want to start by blocking off the master cylinder ports so that no air can enter the system. Then, you’ll want to block off the front and rear brake calipers to see if the symptoms change. If they don’t, you’ll need to block off the HCU ports (the Hydraulic Control Unit), which are usually difficult to access without removing the master cylinder.