Brakes are the most important feature on a car when it comes to safety. Brakes keep you safe, your passengers, and other road users. As with any part of a vehicle, brake systems can fail which can lead to serious accidents. We’ll explore the top 10 reasons for car brake failures and what you can do to prevent them, so you can understand the reasons why brakes fail and maintain a safe and reliable vehicle.
1. Worn Brake Pads
Brake pads are designed to wear down over time as they grip the brake rotors to slow down or stop your car. When these pads become too thin, they lose their ability to generate sufficient friction, reducing braking effectiveness.
2. Brake Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid leaks can lead to a loss of hydraulic pressure in the brake system. This can mean a decrease in braking power and an increased risk of brake failure.
3. Contaminated Brake Fluid
Contaminated brake fluid, often from moisture or impurities, can reduce the fluid’s effectiveness. It may also lead to corrosion within the brake system.
4. Brake Line Damage
Physical damage or corrosion to the brake lines can result in brake fluid leaks, which, in turn, lead to a loss of hydraulic pressure and decreased braking power.
5. Faulty Master Cylinder
The master cylinder on a car is a vital component of the brake system. Faulty master cylinders can lead to a soft feel on the brake pedal, making it difficult to stop the vehicle effectively.
6. ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) Failure
The ABS system helps prevent wheel lockups when you’re heavily braking, enhancing the control of your car. When it stops working, it can affect your ability to carry out an emergency stop safely.
7. Brake Booster Issues
The brake booster assists in applying force to the brake pedal. If it fails, the brake pedal may feel hard, requiring more effort to stop the vehicle.
8. Air in Brake Lines
Air in your car’s brake lines can provide a spongy feedback when using the brake pedal. This makes it difficult to transfer the force from your foot to the brakes, reducing braking performance which could be dangerous.
9. Damaged Brake Rotors
Brake rotors (or discs) can become damaged due to excessive heat, friction, or wear. Warped or scored rotors can lead to reduced braking power and vibrations when you apply the brakes.
10. Brake Caliper Problems
Brake calipers squeeze the brake pads against the brake discs to slow the wheel down. When brake calipers stick, it can lead to uneven wear on the pads and reduce braking efficiency.
Preventing Brake Failures
Regular car maintenance and inspections of your vehicle are vital in preventing these brake issues. Here’s what you can do:
- Regular Inspections: Have your brakes inspected during routine maintenance or if you notice any signs of trouble.
- Address Unusual Sounds: If you hear squeaking, grinding, or any unusual sounds when you brake, have your brakes checked immediately.
- Check for Leaks: Inspect your vehicle for any signs of brake fluid leaks, like spots on your driveway or garage floor.
- Maintain Brake Fluid: Regularly check and maintain brake fluid levels and quality.
- Replace Brake Pads: Replace brake pads as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer or sooner if they show significant wear.
- Maintain a Safe Following Distance: This reduces the need for sudden, hard braking, which can stress the brake system.
Brake failures can be a terrifying experience when driving, but most of the time they are preventable through regular maintenance. Don’t neglect your vehicle’s brakes; you’ll need them should there be an emergency situation on the road. If you suspect any brake issues, it’s essential to have them inspected and repaired by a qualified mechanic without delay. Here at MCM Garage we can help diagnose brake issues before your brakes fail. Get in touch today to book an appointment to inspect your car’s brakes in Bath, Midsomer Norton and Radstock. Alternatively, give us a call on 01761 415 501 to arrange a convenient time.