What to Do When Brake Failure Occurs

The braking system of your vehicle is an integral part of your car’s overall performance and safety. It is important to properly maintain all aspects of the braking system to ensure your car runs as intended and to extend its longevity. This includes routine maintenance and inspections, as well as replacing or repairing any necessary components. Having your car serviced regularly will significantly reduce the risk of brake failure, which is often caused by improper care or maintenance.

The first thing to try when your brakes fail is to pump the brake pedal rapidly and aggressively. In most modern cars with dual braking systems, this will engage half of the system and slow your car down to a safe stop. If this does not work, you can attempt to use the emergency braking system. This system is independent of the hydraulic brake system and will usually still function when the hydraulic system fails, but it may take longer to bring your car to a stop than using the regular brake pedal.

If all else fails, try to find something that you can steer your vehicle into such as a lane divider or guard rail to help you slow down and stop. You should also turn on your hazard lights and honk to warn other drivers to avoid your car. If you have an automatic transmission, a downshift to a lower gear can also help slow your car and decrease momentum.

Brake pads and rotors are the points of contact between your brake system and the tires, which means they are subjected to extreme heat and friction. This causes the brake pad to wear out, which is why they need to be replaced periodically. You can often tell if it is time to replace your brake pads by noticing signs such as squeaking or grinding, pulsation of the pedal, or a steering wheel shimmy.

The brake rotor is the other critical component that will need to be inspected and, if needed, resurfaced. The rotor should have a smooth surface in order to work efficiently with your brake pads. If your car’s rotors are no longer smooth, your Earnhardt service professional will inspect them and either resurface or replace them.

Regular brake maintenance is crucial for vehicle safety and performance. Brake systems typically include components such as brake pads, rotors, calipers, and brake fluid. Over time, these parts wear out and require replacement to ensure the braking system functions effectively.

Common signs that your brakes need repair include squeaking or grinding noises, a spongy brake pedal, vibrations when braking, and the vehicle pulling to one side. Ignoring these signs can lead to reduced braking efficiency or brake failure.

The brake repair process generally involves inspecting all components for wear and damage. Worn brake pads, which are the most common issue, are replaced to restore proper braking. Rotors might need resurfacing or replacement if they are warped or severely worn. The calipers, which apply pressure to the brake pads, are checked for leaks or sticking. Additionally, the brake fluid is inspected and replaced if contaminated, as it plays a critical role in hydraulic brake systems.

Regular maintenance, including checking brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles and changing brake fluid every two years, can prevent major issues. Keeping your braking system in top condition ensures safety, enhances vehicle performance, and can save money on more extensive repairs in the long run.