One of the scariest things in the world is driving down the road and your brakes going out on you. Hopefully, this is something that never happens to you. However, it is helpful to know if your brakes are on the verge of failure and how to safely navigate your vehicle if it happens.
Signs of Brake Failure
Your brakes give you plenty of warning signals before they just go out on you. Therefore, here are a few things to be on the lookout for:
- A Mushy Pedal – If you can barely push down on your pedal and it just drops to the vehicle's floor, then there is definitely something wrong, and you need your brake system serviced. This type of low pressure in the pedal could be a sign of several different things, including a leak in the brake line or worn brake pads.
- Pulling to One Side – You have likely experienced your vehicle pulling to one side or another at some point in time. More often than not, you chalk it up to your vehicle being out of alignment. However, it could be a result of uneven wear on your pads or even a stuck caliper. If it is the latter, the pulling may occur even if you aren't applying your brakes.
- Screeching – When you brake pads get worn down to a certain point, they are designed to begin to making a very high-pitched screeching noise to let you know that they need to be replaced.
These three signs indicate a potential issue with your brakes and require a check-up with an experienced brake technician.
Brake Failure: How You Can Stop Safely
Now, if you are ever driving and experience brake trouble, it is imperative that you know how to bring your vehicle to a stop safely. Here is what you need to do:
- Pump Your Brake Pedal – You will want to start by pumping your brake pedal several times, as this will not only build up the pressure in the brake line to help slow you down, but it will also alert drivers behind you that something is wrong. You may also want to turn on your hazard lights and downshift.
- Apply the Parking Brake – Pull your parking brake all the way up. Your tires may try to skid – if they do, apply slight pressure back onto the brake pedal to avoid losing control. Remember, with the parking brake; it will take double the distance to stop your car since it only has half the power of your pedal.
- Locate a Safe and Spot to Bank the Vehicle – Once you have your vehicle below 20 miles per hour, pull off of the road. Grass and dirt will create friction that pavement cannot, which will assist in bringing your vehicle to a complete stop.
Just remember that you do not ever want to turn off the engine when you are dealing with brake problems, as this will cause the steering wheel to lock up and you will lose control of your vehicle. Contact a brake repair service for more information and assistance.