Braking systems for automobiles are engineered so that the various components work in concert to provide a consistent braking performance. Many anti-lock brakes are also equipped with a system for alerting the vehicle’s operator when the brakes are in need of repair or replacement. Squeaking brakes can be a sign of one or more of the components being in disrepair. At the first audible alert from your brakes, inspect the system to determine the necessary repairs.
If your brakes are squeaking, don’t panic. Often squeaking can start for harmless reasons. Temporary moisture from outside can get in the brake pad and cause a squeaking noise, but this is different from a continuous wail. If your brakes are grinding or squeaking constantly, it means your pads have worn down significantly and need replacing.
In the old days, brake pads were made of asbestos, which, a few years ago, was outlawed by the federal government. Most brake pads now are made of hard, semi-metallic materials. One result is that brake squeal has become common, as the hard brake pad grinds on the steel rotor. This is normal and is not necessarily an indication of brake failure. A brake inspection is the only way to find out for sure. Listen to your car braking system with a discerning ear.
- A Vibration in the brake pedal, steering wheel or your seat when applying the braking system indicate warped rotor(s) or a problem with some loose front end parts.
- Red Brake Indicator Light – could be low fluid, contaminated fluid, or possibly your parking brake is on or the switch is stuck.
- Yellow ABS indicator light indicates a problem somewhere in the ABS system. Though your braking system should work in its proper manner, it is suggested that an brake system inspection should occur immediately.
- Hard Brake Pedal – can be caused by power brake failure, a hydraulic wheel cylinder, poor brake pads or shoes or even a stuck brake caliper.
- Low Brake Pedal – could be caused by low brake pads or shoes. It may be something as simple as a braking system adjustment and will usually accompany the Red Brake Indicator Light.
- Grabbing Brakes – might be contaminated brake pads or shoes, or a loose or broken front end component ready to give way.
Remember, the braking system is not to be ignored, if you do have brake issues, make sure that you have a mechanic take a look at it. Only someone who knows what they are doing should attempt repairs to the brake system.