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Signs of Potential Brake Failure

You don’t want to push your luck with your vehicle’s brakes. If you end up in an accident because you couldn’t stop, the least of your worries will be that you’re at fault. If you’re going fast, the accident could be fatal. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle’s brakes inspected every 10,000 miles to see how they’re holding up to their daily wear and tear. If you notice any of the following signs, have the brakes inspected right away because they are telling you that they could fail.

Your Brake Pedal Feels Weird

Your brake pedal should feel the same each time you step down on it. If you drive a vehicle with automatic brakes, the pedal should give until it’s about 1 1/2 inches from your floorboard. If you drive a vehicle with manual brakes, the pedal will stop about 2 inches from the floorboard. If your pedal sinks down further than that, something is wrong. It should stop at the same place all the time.

Your brake shouldn’t wobble or feel squishy, either. If you feel it give suddenly, you might have air bubbles in your brake lines. This can cause brake failure if there is too much air in the lines. If your brake pedal wobbles, your rotors may have finally warped after being pressed by the brake pads for miles and miles. You may also have a stuck caliper or a rock stuck between the caliper parts.

Your Brakes Screech and Grind

If your brakes screech or grind, you’ve likely gone too far between brake pad changes. You shouldn’t hear noises when you brake unless you hear your tires squeal because you slammed on the brakes to avoid an accident. Screeching or squealing noises could be the pads or something else going on with your brakes. Grinding noises are the pads or debris caught in the rotors or calipers.

Your Brakes Smell Hot

If you smell hot chemicals while driving or when you use the brakes, your brakes are definitely at risk of failing. The hot, chemical smell means your brakes are too hot and if the fluid begins to boil, you won’t be able to stop. In this case, failure risk is high, so don’t keep driving along. Stop and let your brakes cool down. If they are fine afterward, get them checked immediately. If they start to overheat again, call for a tow truck.

At Willoughby Hills, we are brake experts and we’d be happy to inspect and repair your brakes. Let us know when you can come in and we’ll get to work.

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