What Is Wrong with My Brakes?
This is another commonly asked question, as well as famous last words!
Brakes are some of the most vital components in your vehicle when it comes to safety. If they are worn down or are no longer functioning properly, then your stopping distance will increase, allowing you less time to react to road hazards. More importantly, having worn down or malfunctioning brakes isn’t only a hazard to the driver, personally, but to everyone else who shares the road.
There are many other reasons other than regular use over time that can reduce braking performance. Regardless, brake repair should be performed as soon as possible once its first symptoms are noticed. If you recognize any of the following symptoms of poor-performing brakes, schedule a service appointment with River City Nissan for a full brake inspection.
Common Reduced Braking Performance Symptoms and How to Correct Them
Pulsing or vibrating brakes
Do you feel a pulsing or vibrating sensation under your foot when you press down on your brakes? Does the steering wheel jerk when you slow down your vehicle. This can be due to a malfunction anti-lock braking system, or often warping in the rotors or drums.
Solution: Smooth the surface of the malfunctioning rotor or drum until it is smooth once more. Depending on the level of warping, it may be more cost effective to replace the unit entirely.
This is more common in older vehicles with drum-style braking systems. When your brakes fail to retract then it could be a sign that your brake springs need to be replaced. If your vehicle experiences sticking with disc brakes, then it is much more likely that the issue stems for old or damaged caliper seals. In either case, it is best to replace the malfunctioning part.
If you feel that the sticking is not a frequent or severe enough problem to require immediate maintenance, do keep in mind that sticking brakes dramatically reduces the lifespan of your brake pads. Fixing the issue is always the more cost-effective solution.
If you hear a wince-inducing squeal every time you press down on the brakes, this may be a sign that it’s time to swap them out. The majority of commuter brake pads are designed with a metal wear indicator that scratches against your rotors to make a high-pitched squeal once your brakes have reached the level of wear where it’s time to replace them. If you carry on driving for two long after this warning sign, you may damage your drums or brake rotors, creating a more costly replacement.
However, there are some other, more innocuous and innocent reasons why your brakes may be squealing. This is a common effect in dry climates after plenty of moisture or rainfall; typically the squealing disappears within the first minute of driving. It’s just a natural reaction to the elements. Once again, being familiar with the habits of your vehicle will help you to identify which issues are more in need of addressing. If your brakes are acting differently than usual, book an inspection with your local service tech.
Brake pedal goes all the way to the floor
Are your brakes nonresponsive? Are they limp, pushing right to the floor without any resistance? You may have a leak or air in the brake lines. The first step is to open the hood and inspect your vehicle’s brake fluid level, details of which will be listed in your owner’s manual. Wipe off the area around the brake fluid reservoir and remove the top to inspect the fluid. Does it look low, or dirty? If so, it may be time for a brake fluid flush.
Nonresponsive brakes may also be due to a leaking master cylinder. This is more difficult to inspect and identify, and is usually diagnosed by eliminating all other common causes.
How much do brake replacements or repair services cost?
The cost of a brake job varies greatly depending on the procedure and which parts need repairs or maintenance. Typically the least expensive procedure is replacing the brake pads without also replacing the rotors. That’s why it’s highly encourage to have your braking system inspected as soon as your notice problems or sudden changes to their performance.
River City Nissan offers competitive prices on all brake repair or replacement services, using the best diagnostic tools and equipment to get the job done right.
For a quote or to request a service appointment, fill out our online request form today.