8 Common Brake Problems and How To Handle Them in Burke, VA
Brakes are the #1 safety device on your car. If you can’t stop your vehicle, you’ve definitely got a problem. But on modern cars, SUVs, and pickups, the brake system is complex.
It can be confusing diagnosing your problem. Is it really the brake? Do you need to get a professional repair or replacement? Do you need brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA, or is it the brake pads? Is your brake system leaking?
Here is a look at how your brakes work, eight of the most common problems and what you should do if you have a problem while driving.
How Your Brakes Work
Your brakes rely on hydraulic pressure. When you step on your brake pedal, you force brake fluid to push against friction pads, which push against rotors on the wheels. That slows down the car and eventually stops it.
The scientific principle behind all this is the fact that it is next to impossible to compress liquids into a small mass. Though it sounds straightforward, the actual method your brake system uses to accomplish this is complicated.
The entire process happens quickly. It is second nature for any driver to simply step on the brake pedal to get the car to slow down and stop. But what goes on inside your brake system is quite complex.
The two major pieces of your brake system are the pads and rotors, but there are other components that are at work too. When you put your foot on the brake, the pedal moves a plunger that is part of the master cylinder which contains the brake fluid. The fluid is displaced, forcing the fluid into the brake lines and to the calipers. The calipers, which are lined with the brake pads, encircle the brake rotors.
The two most critical components of this system are the brake rotor and pads. That’s why brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA or pad replacement is so important if they are worn or damaged.
What Can Go Wrong with Your Brakes?
Here is a look at the most common problems drivers notice with their brake system.
#1. The brake light comes on. When your dashboard light goes on, it could mean you need an inspection. But it can also indicate your car needs work by a professional. For your safety and to keep repair costs low, take this light seriously! Go into a car repair shop and have a professional check it out.
It could be a simple electrical problem, or it could be more serious like getting brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA. Don’t take chances, get it checked out quickly.
#2. Burning smell when you hit the brakes. Do you notice a chemical smell when you brake on a steep hill? This means your brakes or clutch is overheating. As soon as you notice the odor, pull over and let the car cool down. Be sure to check that your parking brake is completely released so that the brake system can cool thoroughly.
Take your vehicle in to find out why your system is overheating. It could be damage or simply old age. Either way, it needs to be checked.
#3. Car bounces or shakes when you brake. If your car bounces up and down when you hit the brakes quickly, it is most likely a problem with the suspension system, not the brakes. But it still needs to be inspected.
#4. Funny noises when you brake. Do you hear squealing or grinding sounds when you brake? It usually means the brake pad is wearing. The grinding is most likely caused by the steel in the pads rubbing against the rotor. Take your car in for an inspection. You probably need brake pad replacement or brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA.
The grinding or other sounds might also indicate a problem with lubrication in rear drum brakes. If this is the case, your brakes need to be repaired quickly for safety and also to save money. The longer you leave it, the most expensive it will be to repair.
#5. Signs that fluid is leaking. Do you notice leaks under your car’s engine? It could be brake fluid from the master cylinder or other component. The greater the leak, the less power is available to force the pads to push against the rotors. That means your brakes aren’t as effective. Get the leak fixed quickly. Otherwise you might also end up needing brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA.
#6. Pulling motion when you brake. There are several causes for this problem. If it is brake-related, it means there is a brake hose or caliper problem.
#7. Brake pedal feels squishy when you brake. If your brake pedal is soft and squishing when push it to the floor, you need to take it in right away for attention. This unsafe condition is caused by moisture in the brake system or damage to the master cylinder.
#8. Vibration when you brake. If your car wobbles or shakes when you press the brake pedal, your rotor might be uneven. This needs professional attention quickly, for either repair or brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA.
Brake rotors are discs that are positioned into each of the wheels of your car. Effective rotors are smooth and even, without variations in thickness. But over time and many thousands of revolutions of the wheel, rotors will develop spots that vary in thickness. Rust is also a common problem as they age.
Even a thousandth of an inch variation in the rotor can affect your braking. A safe, efficient rotor follows the exacting specifications recommended by the manufacturer. That’s why brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA, is so important.
What Should You Do If Your Brakes Fail?
One of the most terrifying things that can happen to a driver is stepping on the brakes and nothing happens. Here is what the experts suggest you should you do:
- Take your foot off the brake
- Find a spot to pull over
- Move to a lower gear
- Get your car to 30 mph or less. Then put on the parking brake. This set of brakes is separate from the main braking system, so it will most likely still be working.
Here are two ways to stop the car:
- Use friction to slow your car down. If you are driving on a road with a divider or railing, like on a bridge, maneuver your car against it. Don’t drive directly into the railing or divider.
- Use your transmission to slow you down and stop your vehicle. Put it in reverse which will likely stop the car quickly. It will also destroy the transmission, but if your safety is at stake, it is worth the price.
Safety First—Let Experts Repair Your Brakes
When you encounter one of the eight problems listed above, take your car into a car repair shop as quickly as possible. It makes no sense to put yourself and your family at risk. And it is less expensive if you get problems fixed quickly. A quick trip to the repair shop could mean less costly repair work instead of complete brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA.
Can you do it yourself? Experts recommend that you take your vehicle into a professional car repair shop for brake work, like Wiygul Automotive Clinic. It is staffed by ACE-certified mechanics, trained in the latest methods for brake pad repair and brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA. They have access to the most advanced equipment which lets them do a thorough, safe job.
Trust Your Brakes to Professionals
The brake professionals here at Wiygul Automotive Clinic have been helping drivers just like you since 1996. We are experts in all the systems of your car, including brakes, steering and suspension, fuel and exhaust, and electrical. We handle all types of engine repair.
Our mechanics are all ASE-certified. You are assured that the person who works on your brakes and other systems knows what he’s doing.
At Wiygul Automotive Clinic, we recommend scheduled maintenance, following the recommendations of your vehicle’s manufacturer. Here are the reasons we firmly believe in preventive maintenance:
- Cost-effective--find problems before a major repair is required
- Safety—find problems before they cause driving difficulties
- Peace of mind
- Better fuel economy
- Longer life span for brakes, engine, tires and other components
Wiygul Automotive Clinic handles all types of vehicle work, including:
- Muffler and exhaust systems
- Engine repair
- Suspension and alignment
- Electrical service
- Full tire service, featuring Goodyear, Dunlop, and Kelly tires
- Virginia State Inspection Center, staffed by ACE-certified inspectors
Call the brake professionals at Wiygul Automotive Clinic today for a free, no-obligation quote for brake rotor replacement in Burke, VA.