Car Braking Systems - Warning Signs and Maintenance

In the busy schedule we tend to ignore the warning signs until it compromises our safety. Braking systems are the major control input of the car, ignoring the following signs can lead to serious trouble.

It is common knowledge that in order to slow down a car to stop, we press the brake pedal. But a lot of mechanics and physics are involved in this system to make it safe and responsive when the brakes are being pressed by the driver. 

A braking system is usually operated hydraulically. In its simplest definition, a fluid which is present in two cylinders (master and slave) of a hydraulic system and connected to each other through pipes, is transferred when the piston in the master cylinder is depressed and forces the fluid to the slave cylinder which then applies brakes

Vehicles can be equipped with either disc brakes, drum brakes or both depending on braking performance required. Modern high performing cars use disc brakes front and rear. Since braking throws the car weight on to the front wheels, the rear brakes are purposely made less powerful than the front brakes. Front brakes aid a greater contribution in stopping the car than the rear ones, which is why, disc brakes are used in the front braking system and drum brakes can be found at the rear wheel on some vehicles.

Brake Warning Signs

If we pay attention, the car usually gives warning signs before the system starts to fail.

Squeal Noise: If there is a squeal or screeching sound upon pressing the pedal then there is a possibility that the brake pads are worn and may need replacement. 

Unbalanced: While applying brakes the vehicle tends to pull right or left from its path. A sign there could be problems in the braking system.

Vibrations: This is a common problem in disc brake systems. If this occurs it should be repaired immediately as the rotors get warped due to overheating or improper tightening of wheels. 

Brake warning light: The easiest way is to check the Brake warning light. If it lights up it is time to get the brakes inspected by a licensed vehicle tester.

Soft, Spongy Pedal: If on pressing the brake pedal it feels soft and spongy then there is possibly a problem with the hydraulic system. The brake pedal should be neither spongy nor hard while using it. Chances are high that there is a fluid loss if the brakes do not feel firm and solid on pressing the pedal.

Everyday traffic and continuous braking takes a toll on brake rotors and pads. Depending on your driving it is advisable to get the braking system examined at least every 6 months. Contact your nearby licensed vehicle tester for a thorough brake inspection to roadworthy standards.


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