How to Troubleshoot Common Vehicle Braking Problems

Posted on: 11 January 2018

Virtually any vehicle will have eventual braking problems, as the callipers, pads, and rotors that make up the main components of the braking system can easily wear down sooner than they should. There is a variety of reasons why your vehicle might have braking problems and need automotive repair services; note a few of those reasons here, along with some tips on how to address those issues, so your vehicle is always safe when on the road.

Wobbling when braking

When you apply the brakes, your car should never pull away from you or start to shake. If it does, this could mean that the tyres are not aligned properly, or that one is worn down and needs replacing. However, if the tyres are in good repair, this wobbling often means that there is one brake pad that is uneven, and is not gripping the tyre evenly and smoothly. A pad may be uneven because it's worn down and needs replacing, or it may have been installed improperly and is slipping out of place. This wobbling or shaking can also be caused by grit, gravel, rocks, and other debris being caught in the brake pad, and removing it and cleaning the rotor can be all that's needed to fix this issue.

Burning smell after braking

If you notice a pungent burning smell after applying the brakes, this may mean that the emergency brake is stuck on. Be sure the handle or pedal for this brake is fully disengaged. If the emergency brake is not the issue, this often means that a brake pad is still engaged after releasing the brake pedal. This could be a stuck brake calliper, which is not releasing properly and keeping the pad squeezing against the rotor. If the brake pads are new, they may have been installed improperly, or may be the wrong size for the vehicle. Have this issue checked at once so you don't burn away the pad or cause damage to the rotor.

Grinding sound

A grinding sound when you're driving may indicate that the pads and rotors are worn down; however, if you hear this sound from the rear of the car, this often means that there is a lack of lubrication to the back brakes. This can be caused by leaks in the system, worn down brake shoes, or excessive amounts of rust in the brakes. Have the rear brakes inspected and replaced as needed so they don't wear down completely and suffer even more damage.