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3 Causes of Brake Failure and When to Seek Repair

Next to your engine and transmission, your brakes are the most important part of your vehicle. Brakes failing while on the road can be extremely dangerous and can cause potentially life-threatening accidents. Ensuring your car’s brakes are functioning properly is an important service you shouldn’t ignore.

brake warning light on dashboard of vehicle

Warning Signs of Brake Failure

Your vehicle's warning light should indicate that your brakes have started to go bad before they entirely fail. Other indications of brake failure include:

  • A grinding sound when you press the pedal down, indicating worn brake disks
  • Having to apply more and more pressure to the brake pedal to come to a stop
  • A vibrating sensation when applying the brakes
  • Your vehicle moving to one side when braking
  • A burning smell
  • A puddle on your driveway may suggest a brake fluid leak

What Causes Brake Failure?

  1. The most common cause of brake failure is loss of brake fluid. The fluid transfers the force you exert by pushing down on the brake pedal to the brake disks that slow and stop your car's wheels. You can usually detect a leak before getting on the road because you'll see it underneath your vehicle. If you notice a leak, do not drive until you get the leak repaired and the brake fluid replaced.
  2. Another cause of brake failure is a bad brake cylinder. The brake cylinder is the part of your braking system where the fluid gets compressed. A bad brake cylinder can cause your braking system to lose power.
  3. A part called the brake booster can also go bad. The brake booster takes the force generated when you press down on the pedal and amplifies it. If this part goes bad, the full amount of force to slow and stop your vehicle will not be generated.

If you suspect that you are experiencing brake failure while on the road, do not continue driving. Brake failure transforms your vehicle into a potential missile on wheels. Get to the side of the road as soon and as safely as possible and call for help. Prevent brake failure and accidents from occurring by keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance at Custom Complete Automotive. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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