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Signs of Declining Brakes: Don’t Ignore These Warning Signals!

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When something is wrong with your engine, you will notice the check engine light pop on. But when it comes to your brake system, it can be up to you – the driver – to take note and notice when it is time for brake repair or brake service.

Your car will give you some signs that it is time to replace brake pads or bring it in for service, and by being aware of those tell-tale signs, you can prevent issues from getting worse or impacting your car’s other systems.

At Welsh Automotive Specialties, we want to keep your vehicle’s brakes safe and in good condition so you can drive safely without worrying. With each tune-up, oil change, or brake inspection, our goal is not simply to provide high-quality service using the best parts available. Above all, it is about making sure that you have a great experience and leave our auto repair shop safer than when you come in.

Let’s talk about some warning signs that your brakes might be declining and what you should do if you notice your car’s brakes are not performing correctly.

The Causes of Brake Damage

Braking is essential to keeping the driver, the passengers and ultimately every road user safe. But like every vehicle part, the braking system also sees gradual wear and tear over time.

A deeper understanding of what exactly causes brakes to decline can help you address these issues and ensure you are properly maintaining your car’s brakes.

The worn brake pads or brake shoes

Over time and with regular use, your brake pads or shoes can wear down, eventually impacting their performance. A regular inspection and replacement also ensures they are replaced in a timely manner, keeping your brakes operating as they should.

Leaks or contamination in the brake fluid

A leak in the brake system can cause a decrease in your fluid levels, which can impede the performance of your brakes. Similarly, water contamination of the brake fluid can lower its boiling point, causing the brake system to underperform.

Wear and tear resulting in the brake rotor or drum damage

Similar to brake pads, brake rotors and drums also undergo wear and tear. Due to the intense heat, vibration, and pressure generated during braking, rotors and drums may warp over time. This condition can cause less smooth brake operation, resulting in pulsations while braking.

Failure in the brake cylinders

Brake calipers and cylinders play a key role in bringing your car to a halt. These can fail due to rust or corrosion, directly affecting your brake system’s effectiveness.

Overheating of the braking system due to aggressive driving or intense usage

Much like some components of your vehicle, your car’s braking system could also suffer when exposed to high heat, often due to aggressive driving or constant heavy braking. Overheating can cause the brake fluid to boil, leading to vapor lock and loss of brake function.

Signs it is time for a brake service

So, how can you know if any of these things are occurring with your car? It is important to know when and how your car will alert you that it is time for maintenance. There are a few signs we tell customers to keep an eye out for, which would indicate it is time for brake service.

Squeaking or Grinding Noise

One of the first signs of potential brake problems in cars is unusual noises like a high-pitched squealing or grinding sound when applying brakes. This usually indicates that brake pads are worn and need to be replaced.

Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal

If your parking brake or pedal does not feel firm and instead goes further to the floor than usual, you might have a problem. This could be due to air in the braking system or a fluid leak, which requires immediate brake service.

Vehicle Pulls to One Side When Braking

If you feel your car pulling to one side when you brake, it could mean that there is a problem with your brakes. There may be a leak in the fluid that helps your brakes work, or the brake lines might be worn out. Either way, it is important to get your car checked as soon as possible to make sure you are safe on the road.

Vibrations or Pulsations

If your steering wheel vibrates or you feel pulsations under your foot when braking, this could be a sign of warped rotors. It can happen due to high heat conditions and impact with potholes.

Burning Smell Near Tires

If you smell a sharp, chemical odor after some hard braking, this may signal overheated brakes or clutch. In extreme situations, overheating can even lead to brake failure.

Warning Lights

If the brake warning light on your dashboard is illuminated, it is likely signaling a problem with your braking system. Bring your car in for brake service immediately, and our team can diagnose the problem and figure out what might have triggered the warning light.

Do not ignore the warning signs!

Addressing brake issues promptly is crucial in preventing further harm and guaranteeing your safety. Ideally, brakes should be inspected at least once a year by a professional. With Welsh Automotive Specialties, you can trust our knowledgeable technicians to provide quality and timely service for all your vehicle’s brake systems. We are experienced in diagnosing issues with the anti-lock braking system and all other brake problems.

Whatever brake repairs you need, we are here for you in West Chester, PA and Exton, PA.

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Your one-stop shop for West Chester brakes and auto repair services

Spotting these warning signs early can save you money from avoiding more serious repairs in the future and, more importantly, ensure you stay safe on the road.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, contact our reliable and friendly team of technicians at Welsh Automotive Specialties. We are here to deliver the best auto service and brake service in West Chester and Exton. 

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