Brake Safety Part 3: How to Spot Problems with your Brakes

Brakes are essential for your vehicle.  You use brakes to stop, yield and even change directions when driving.  If they are not working properly,  you may be putting your family and yourself at risk not to mention the cost of an accident or insurance claim.  That’s why it is very important to have a regular car maintenance check-up which includes making sure that your brakes are in fine working order.

Know the Signs of Brake Problems

Brake problems are a common cause of vehicular accidents.  By knowing the early signs of brake problems, you can  avoid possible accidents and their consequences.

Listen for Strange Sounds

When you tap on your brakes, listen for any strange or out-of-the-ordinary sounds.  These sounds could be a sign of brake problems.

Pay Attention to Stopping Power

When you press the brake pedal, you should be able to stop quickly.  If it takes longer than normal for your vehicle to come to a complete stop, you might have a brake issue.

Look at Your Dashboard

A light on your dashboard may turn on if you have brake issues. This brings up two good points. First, the lights on your dashboard depend on sensors on your car. If those sensors are not working properly, a light may not come on. Therefore, you should not depend on your dashboard light as the sole notification of brake issues.

Second, lights on the dashboard are usually icons — small pictures meant to communicate something to you.  Pull out your user manual and learn what the lights mean.  It will help you with other car systems in addition to your brakes.

Notice Car Behavior

Remember all those parts of the braking system from the last post? If your vehicle drags to the right or left when you stop the car, there is a good chance you have a problem in one of those systems.

What to Do if You Suspect Your Brakes are not Working Properly

Cars with brake problems should not be driven and should be brought to a vehicle mechanic for proper diagnosis and repair. However, every driver has a responsibility to check their car regularly and keep it in good condition. Knowing when to change your brakes can help stop problems before they start.


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