Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

Clues Your Brakes Need Servicing

Your brakes are the most critical and life-saving parts of your car. Even minor brake problems can be disastrous, so you should pay attention to any changes in your braking.

Here are some clues there are problems with your brakes.

Old Or Contaminated Brake Fluid 

You should consult your owner's manual or a technician to determine when your brake fluid needs to be replaced. Learning how to check your own brake fluid can also help you spot problems. The owner's manual or a technician can guide you to the location of the reservoir containing the brake fluid. Check the color of the fluid, which should range from clear to mildly colored. If the fluid is dark and/or contains debris, it is time to have the brake fluid replaced. Replacing the brake fluid is more complicated than simply draining the old fluid and replacing it with new fluid. The line needs to be flushed to make sure any debris is removed before adding new brake fluid.

Unusual Braking

Find a safe place to test your braking, such as an empty parking lot, or other location where there is no risk of hitting another car or person. Try both normal braking and braking suddenly, like what would occur if you suddenly stopped. Some clues you have brake problems would be changes in how fast your car comes to a complete stop or the need to apply more pressure to the brake to stop. Bad brakes can cause your car to shake or make other unusual movements and noises when you press the brake pedal. You might also notice the car pulls to one side during braking. When your car exhibits any usual behavior during braking it is imperative to have your brakes checked since your brakes may not work well enough or fail completely when you need them.

Emergency Brakes

Many people never use their emergency (or parking) brake or even test the brake. Test the emergency brake when you are also testing your primary brakes. Press the gas so the car is moving forward, then slowly engage the parking brake. If the parking brake is working correctly, your car should slowly stop. Another test is to park your car on an incline and deploy the emergency brake. Your car should not roll backward if the brake is working. Although the emergency brake is designed to give you an alternative way to brake if your primary brakes fail, you should also use them regularly to prevent corrosion or other damage that could make the brake unusable in an emergency.

The emergency brake should be engaged when you park your car since it offers added protection in the event of an accident. This may prevent your car from rolling if the car is hit while it is parked. Knowing how to engage the emergency brake properly will prevent damaging other components of your car. The emergency brake should be engaged before putting your car into park and shutting off the engine. To disengage the emergency brake, start the car with the primary brake engaged, then disengage the emergency brake before you put your car into drive.

Regularly testing both your primary and emergency brake can help you spot issues with your brake systems well before they become dangerous. If any problems arise, unlike some other car issues, you cannot wait to have your car serviced. 

Find a brake service near you to see what your brakes need.