Signs Of Failing Brakes

Your vehicle's brakes are arguably the most important part of the vehicle, as they allow you to control your speed while driving. If your brakes fail, you are suddenly at near-certain risk of experiencing an accident. Thankfully, there are a couple of early warning signs that can indicate when you should head to a mechanic to have your brakes serviced in order to prevent a catastrophic failure at a later date.

Fluid Leaks

One of the most common reasons for automotive brake failure is a brake fluid leak. You should check under your vehicle after it has been parked for a little while to see if any liquid has collected. Brake fluid takes on a brownish-red tone. You can use paper towel to absorb any liquid off of the asphalt to see its color better. Keep in mind that transmission fluid also appears in a red hue, but is much brighter than brake fluid. Additionally, a transmission fluid leak is just as serious as a brake fluid leak, and you should still have a mechanic take a look at your vehicle anyway.

Brake Noises

If you notice that your brakes are making high-pitched noises when they're engaged, your brake pads may be near the end of their lifespan. This squealing noise is caused by the metal of the brake calipers rubbing against the metal of your brake rotor, which causes increased wear and stress and can prove to be inadequate to slow your vehicle down. If this is the case, you should have your brake pads replaced as soon as possible to ensure that the rotor and caliper do not become damaged.

Soft Pedal

If your brake pedal is extremely soft or spongy when pressed, and doesn't seem to be very effective, requiring a great deal more pressure than should be necessary to stop at slow speeds, your brake system is in dire shape. Sometimes, the issue is as simple as having air in your brake lines and needing to have them bled to ensure proper operation again, but other times it's more serious, like a brake fluid leak or completely worn away brake pads.


Finally, another common sign that your brakes are in need of repair is if the vehicle begins to vibrate when you slow down. This is usually caused by a warped brake rotor, which is unable to create an even amount of friction. Not only does this cause your vehicle to vibrate when slowing down, but it reduces the ability of your brakes to slow down your vehicle.