It’s important that you listen and feel for any of these changes in your braking – not just to save on expensive repairs but because it could save your life.
Please note: Brake problems
should always be fully diagnosed and
repaired by a qualified mechanic.
The information provided in this article is intended as a guide only, is not comprehensive and all changes in your brake system should be discussed immediately with a professional.
Probably the most obvious of all the symptoms that your brakes need attention. The brake warning light means get your brakes checked immediately. It could be a leak in the brake fluid causing low levels, the brake pads need replacing or a faulty speed sensor in ABS brakes. Whatever reason behind the light – if you see it light up contact your local Repco Authorised Service centre for a diagnosis today.
Squealing or grinding noises from your brakes are generally a sign that you need a brake pad replacement.
The high pitch squeal can be from special indicators which are built in to your brake pads to warn you they are ready to be replaced. If you hear a grinding sound this definitely means you should get your brakes inspected.
Grinding means your brake pads could be so worn they are starting to damage the rotors or disc which means the longer you leave it the more expensive the repairs will be as well as being extremely dangerous. Get your brake system inspected immediately. You will need a brake pad replacement and you might require a rotor or disc resurface or replacement.
You should always pay attention to the way your brakes ‘feel’ when you apply pressure. Your brake pedal should feel firm and the brakes should feel solid and apply gradually when you apply pressure to the pedal. Any changes in your brake pedal feel should be discussed with your service centre immediately to avoid dangerous situations and expensive repairs in the future.
Soft or Spongy pedals
If your brake pedal feels soft, spongy, squishy or mushy it could be air in the hydraulic brake lines, failing calipers, a problem wheel cylinder or could be as simple as needing more fluid in the master cylinder. Regardless of the cause – a soft brake pedal is a major sign and it means get your brakes checked. You may require a brake fluid flush, a brake fluid top-up or replacement of any parts which may be leaking or worn such as brake lines, hoses or cylinders.
Sinking or low brake pedal / No brake pressure
If your brake pedal is sitting lower than normal, goes all the way to the floor or feels like there is no pressure behind it there could be insufficient brake fluid or a problem with the master cylinder. This could be from a leak or because of evaporation. It might also be caused by air or water in the hydraulics - but it most certainly requires an inspection. You might require a brake fluid replacement or a master cylinder replacement.
Sensitive pedal / Grabbing brakes.
If your brakes feel like they grab too suddenly when you apply pressure to the pedal this could be brake pads that need cleaning or replacing, caliper misalignment/seizure, disc issues or a problem with the brake hoses causing a build-up of pressure. You might need a brake pad replacement or Disc resurface. Contact a service centre for a proper diagnosis of this issue.
Brake pedal too firm
If you feel like you are having to use extra force to move your brake pedal you might have a brake booster problem, or a brake line obstruction. An inspection of your brake lines and system is necessary to diagnose this issue.
If your car pulls to one side or swerves when you apply pressure to your brakes – it means one side of the brakes is creating uneven force. It could be a faulty caliper, uneven brake pads or even problems in the brake fluid hoses. Cars pulling to one side can also be symptomatic of other issues in your vehicle not related to your brakes at all such as tyre pressure or wheel alignment amongst other things. Regardless, it's an issue you should be discussing with a technician directly.
Vibration, shaking, shuddering or pulsing when you apply the brakes could be a sign that you need a rotor or drum resurfacing or replacement. Vibrations caused by other car components could be mistaken as a brakes issue – it might be that you need a wheel balance, or your suspension system should be checked for worn components. We recommend a safe-t-stop brake, alignment and suspension test.