The importance of maintaining your cars brakes

A cars brakes are a critical safety system and should be maintained correctly

Reuben Van Niekerk
Consumer Advice
Braking System
Car Maintenance
Vehicle Maintenance

Your cars brakes are one of its most critical safety systems that are used hundreds if not thousands of times on every journey.

The stress that a cars brakes endure when you press the brake pedal to slow the cars immense weight car down for a turn, a stop street or a robot means that this system needs to be properly maintained in order to operate safely and efficiently.

While brakes should be inspected at every service interval there are some clear signs to let you know when your brakes need attention.

The car vibrates when you apply the brakes

Any vibration when applying the brakes, could indicate worn brake pads or warped brake discs. In addition, if your car shakes when coming to a stop your rear brakes might need to be looked at.

The pedal feels strange

If the brake pedal doesn't feel right or it is inconsistent in terms of its feel, such as hard and then progressively soft the cars brake system could have a leak or could be showing signs of overheating. While it is normal for the pedal to pulsate under hard braking, when the ABS is activated, any such vibration under normal driving conditions could signify a variety of serious issues.

Your steering wheel shakes when applying the brakes

If your steering wheel shakes or the car pulls to one side when applying the brakes your braking system is most certainly in need of attention. This phenomenon could be caused by uneven braking force being applied to individual wheels or unevenly worn braking or even suspension components.

The brakes make a noise

Any noise when applying the brakes are a clear indicator that your brakes need attention. If the friction material is excessively worn it will result in a metal-on-metal contact which will make a terrible noise and both the discs and brake pads should then be replaced.

Pay attention to the lights

Most modern cars have a specific warning light that will illuminate when the friction surface of the brake pads is nearing the end of their life. It is a good idea to get the brake pads replaced by a specialist as soon after this light illuminates as possible to avoid additional damage such as that caused by metal-on-metal contact. In most cases an illuminated braking light indicates a low brake fluid level. The braking system is a closed system, and any loss of brake fluid indicates a leak in the system that should be attended to as a matter of urgency. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with all your cars warning lights, by reading the owner’s manual, so that you have a clear understanding of what each specific light relating to the braking system represents. As a rule of thumb orange lights indicate something that should be checked while red lights indicate a critical fault.