Most vehicles are equipped with disc brakes these days. Even if you have drum brakes, they are likely on your rear wheels only. So, what are the most common problems drivers face with their automobile’s disc brakes? Here are the four things we see the most in our shop. As an aside, you can avoid these problems with regular brake inspections and preventative maintenance. Now, on to our list!
The discs in a disc braking system are also called rotors and these parts can warp over time. When you step on the brakes, the brake system’s master cylinder pushes brake fluid through to the calipers which, in turn, shove the brake pads up against the rotors. Rotors can warp due to the constant pressure from the pads. They can also overheat, as the friction caused by the pads is unbelievably hot.
The brake pads do not come out of this deal without their own sets of problems. The friction caused by the pads wears down the pad surface and constant friction glazes the pads. Brake pads are made from steel backs with pad material on top of it. The material wears down and the pads must be replaced once the material is nearly gone. It can also overheat if you’re riding your brakes, i.e. glaze.
As mentioned above, the calipers use brake fluid to press the brake pads into the rotors and stop the car, truck, or SUV. The calipers are made up of moving parts, including pistons, and if a piston seizes, the caliper will fail. Calipers can also get road debris stuck in them, which might cause your vehicle to pull to the right or left when you apply the brakes. Finally, calipers can warp just as rotors can.
Finally, brake fluid is the blood of your automobile’s braking system and it can leak or overheat. Both scenarios equal danger. Fluid leaks are generally caused by a problem with the master cylinder or brake lines, and a brake system low in fluid makes stopping your vehicle difficult. Overheated brake fluid will cause your brakes to fail, so pay attention to any burning smells while you drive and stop.
Disc brakes are one of your car, truck, or SUV’s most important safety features. Treat the brakes right with regular maintenance. Replacing worn down parts is cheaper than replacing the entire system. Worn brake pads alone can damage the rotors. Bring your vehicle in for a brake inspection today.