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Troubleshooting Your Car Brakes: 3 Common Problems and Solutions

Is your car brake making noises or vibrating? Our guide offers solutions for common brake problems, including brake pads, rotors, and fluid.
car brake pads

Maintaining your car’s brakes is crucial for your safety on the road. If your brakes are not functioning properly, it can lead to accidents and even fatalities. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to identify and fix common brake problems. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through three common brake problems, including squeaking or grinding noises, brake pedal vibrations, and soft brake pedals, and provide solutions for each.

Problem 1: Squeaking or Grinding Noises

If you hear a high-pitched squeaking or grinding noise when you press the brake pedal, it’s a sign that your brake pads are worn out. This noise is caused by metal-to-metal contact between the brake rotor and caliper. Here’s how to check your brake pads and rotors:

  • Check brake pads: Remove the wheel and inspect the brake pads. If the pads are less than ¼ inch thick, they need to be replaced. Also, check for any uneven wear, cracks, or glazing on the surface.
  • Check brake rotors: Inspect the brake rotors for any grooves, cracks, or warping. If the rotors are worn out, they need to be replaced.

Problem 2: Brake Pedal Vibrations

If you feel vibrations or pulsations in the brake pedal when you press it, it’s a sign of warped brake discs or damaged wheel bearings. Here’s how to check:

  • Check brake discs: Remove the wheel and inspect the brake discs for any warping or uneven wear. If the brake discs are warped, they need to be replaced.
  • Check wheel bearings: Jack up the car and check for any looseness or play in the wheel. If there’s any play, it indicates that the wheel bearings are worn out and need to be replaced.

Problem 3: Soft Brake Pedal

If the brake pedal feels spongy or soft when you press it, it’s a sign of a problem with the brake fluid or brake lines. Here’s how to check:

  • Check brake fluid: Open the hood of your car and locate the brake fluid reservoir. Check the level of the fluid and ensure it’s within the recommended range. If the fluid is low, it may be due to a leak in the brake system. Also, check the color of the fluid. If it’s dark or cloudy, it’s time to replace it.
  • Check brake lines: Inspect the brake lines for any signs of leaks or damage. If there’s a leak, it’s essential to fix it as soon as possible to prevent air from getting into the brake system, which can cause the brake pedal to feel soft.

Regular maintenance of your car’s brakes can prevent problems and ensure your safety on the road. If you experience any of the above problems, it’s crucial to take immediate action to fix them. By checking your brake pads, rotors, discs, wheel bearings, brake fluid, and brake lines regularly, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure your car’s brakes are in top condition.

Check out NAPA’s KNOW HOW tips for all your car’s needs:

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