Brake Health 101

Brake Health 101: Testing And Diagnosing Braking Problems

Brakes are one of the most essential components of any vehicle. This is why faulty braking systems can be a cause of major accidents. Keeping your brakes in topnotch condition becomes important when this one component of the vehicle has the potential to save your life. In this article, you will find out how you can identify different kinds of faults in your brakes and correct them accordingly. 

Read on and find out about different brake faults and how to identify them.

Spongy Brakes

The symptom of this problem is that when you press the brake pedal, the pedal reaches the car’s floor. There is no resistance felt, and the brake loses its firmness. This is a serious problem and shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

There can be numerous reasons for a spongy brake. The most common one is that the master cylinder has low fluid levels in it. This can be due to a fluid leak, so the way to tackle this is by checking for leaks and repairing the fault. 

Other reasons for spongy brakes include the brake pedal linkage may be excessively free, the residual line pressure valve may become faulty, the fluid in the line may become contaminated, and there could be air in the hydraulic system. 

If you have air in the hydraulic system, you will need to drain the brake system and refill the brake fluid. If the problem is with the line pressure valve, you will just need to replace that; make sure to get this done by a professional.

If the brake pedal linkage becomes free, you just need to adjust it to get the proper linkage. Since the braking system is a crucial car component, a professional should check all problems and deal with them immediately.

A common reason for spongy brakes is an ill-fitting braking system. So always get your braking system worked on by a professional.

Brake Pull

Brake Health 101

When you apply your vehicle’s brakes, and you notice the car being pulled to one side, that is called brake pull.

Brake pull occurs because the car’s brakes exert uneven forces on the tires. Greater force is applied to one side of the car than the other. Many factors can cause this problem; contaminated brake pads, faulty caliper, seized caliper, uneven brake adjustment, or unmatched pads could be one of them. 

All these reasons can easily be corrected to eliminate brake pull. If your pads are contaminated with grease, brake fluid, or any other material, you just need to clean them, and the brake pull will disappear. If you have unmatched pads, just replace the pads with the correct ones.

Braking systems are complicated, so you shouldn’t attempt to fix these problems on your own. Visit a brake specialist.


When you apply the brakes of your car and the steering wheel and pedal vibrate, that is a sign of a faulty braking system. 

These vibrations can be caused because of rotor problems. When rotors are uneven and the pads connect with the rotors, it causes vibration. Usually, this can be dealt with by resurfacing the rotors. Resurfacing is the process of shaving off the uneven surface of the rotors. 

Another way to deal with this problem is by changing the rotors. Rotors are usually not that expensive, and replacing them is always better than resurfacing them. When purchasing rotors, always opt for the best quality rotors; they will last longer and give you a smooth driving experience. 

Another reason for vibrations can be that the wheel is out of balance. This also has an easy fix; just get your wheels aligned at the service station, which will solve the problem. 

Lastly, sometimes the steering and suspension components are worn out; this can also cause vibrations. Visit your mechanic to get this inspected and replace the appropriate components.

Noisy Brakes

When you apply brakes, there should be no sound coming from them. If your brakes are making a sound, there could be a potential problem that needs your attention. 

Some of the sounds that brakes make and why they make them:

Squealing occurs when the wear indicators contact the rotors. The squealing sound will occur when you brake, sometimes when you accelerate and when you make a sharp turn. It’s really nothing to be worried about; it just means it’s time to replace the pads. As the pads wear out, their ability to bring the rotors to a stop is compromised, so it’s recommended to replace them immediately.

Grinding occurs when you ignore the brake pads, and they have gone beyond the point of wear indicators. And now the metal is rubbing against the metal of the rotors. This will damage your rotors if not dealt with immediately. You will end up having to replace not just the pads but also the rotors. 

Thumping is a less common sound. This sound is more common in drum braking systems. It occurs when the drum brakes are out of shape. This sound will mean that you need to get the brakes checked. 

Brake Grab

Brake Health 101

This is the opposite of a spongy brake. It occurs when you slightly touch the brakes, and they react immediately; in other words, the brakes become overly sensitive. 

There are many reasons for brake grab. Some common reasons are contamination of brake pads by grease or brake fluid, brake calipers that are misaligned, seized caliper pistons, collapsed brake lines, and hoses. 

If you experience that your brakes have become extra sensitive, then it could be because of any of the reasons mentioned above. Get your brakes inspected by a professional brake specialist to resolve this issue.

Final Thoughts

Always ensure that your brakes are in good condition. Regularly get your brakes checked and deal with issues immediately, delaying repair work on your brakes can have dire consequences. Always buy genuine and good quality components because skimping on braking components could put you and your loved ones at risk. 

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