Common Brake Problems

Having problems with the brakes on your vehicle isn't something you want to ignore. Contrary to the hopes of most vehicle owners, brakes hardly ever fix themselves. While most drivers have trouble telling a serious brake issue from a minor one, knowing a few common brake problems can help you to determine whether you should head immediately to the garage or call them and make an appointment for next week.

Common vehicle brake issues

1. Leaking brake fluid. One of the easiest and least expensive brake problems to fix is leaking brake fluid. This is usually due to a cracked brake line or hose that connects the fluid reservoir with the brake units. Signs of a leak include diminished brake function as well as a pool of clear liquid in your driveway under the engine.

2. Worn brake pads. If you find you have to push down further than usual to get the same amount of brake action, if you hear a slight grinding sound and/or your car veers slightly when you brake, you likely have worn brake pads. This is a repair you want to have done sooner rather than later, not only for safety, but because delaying this repair could also mean that you need to replace your car's rotors and/or calipers, a much more expensive proposition.

3. Air in the brake lines. This is a serious problem, but one that's not terribly expensive to fix. If your brakes feel spongy, it means that you're likely going to lose brake function soon. The best option is to have your car towed to the mechanic.

4. Warped rotors. If your car vibrates when you brake and/or if it veers to one side, this could be the result of a warped rotor. Your rotors, also sometimes call brake discs, are what the brake pads clamp down on to stop your car. Warped rotors are another repair you don't want to delay as it could cost you more money the longer you wait.

5. Problem with the Antilock Braking System (ABS). If you see the ABS indicator light come on, it's a sign that something is amiss with the car's Antilock Braking System. This could be something minor like a faulty sensor or something more serious like a system failure.

While no vehicle owner wants to find out that he or she has a brake problem, getting the issue taken care of quickly not only is the safe thing to do, but will usually save you money in the long run. Talk to a service like Earl's Garage to learn more about maintaining your car's brakes.