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8 Common Brake Problems and Their Solutions | Independent Auto and Diesel Repair in Jamestown, TN. Closeup image of a driver’s foot pressing the brake pedal to stop the car.

8 Common Brake Problems and Their Solutions

Your vehicle’s brakes are one of the most critical components to ensure your driving safety. However, they involve many moving parts that are wear-and-tear items. This leads to braking problems over time that could put you and your passengers at risk. 

In this post, we will discuss eight common brake problems and solutions. Should you need your brakes repaired or replaced, you’ll be glad to know that we offer various brake services at Independent Auto and Diesel Repair in Jamestown, TN. 

1. Squeaking or Grinding Brakes

Your vehicle’s brakes could squeak or grind for two reasons. 

If the pads have dirt stuck on them, they might squeak or even grind. You can sometimes stop this by reversing with your foot lightly on the brake pedal. This often knocks the stuck dirt off.

Brake pads also have a small metal tab. When the pad material wears down to the height of the tab, the tab scrapes against the rotor and squeals or grinds. This is one sign that you must replace the brake pads.

In both cases, have a professional mechanic inspect your brake pads and replace them if necessary.

2. The Brake Pedal Travels

“Brake travel” refers to the distance the brake pedal must be pressed before the brakes engage and begin to slow down the vehicle. If your brake pedal travels, it could mean the pads are low or you have a leak. Eventually, the brake pedal won’t even travel—it’ll go right to the floor. 

If the brake pedal travels, it’s time for brake repair. At Independent Auto and Diesel Repair, we can identify and repair this problem.

3. The Brake Pedal Pulsates or Vibrates

If you notice that the brake pedal pulsates or bounces when you step on the brake, the rotors might be warped, or they weren’t turned properly. You feel the pads riding over the waves in the rotors. 

Our certified auto technicians can turn the rotors or replace them. Because the pads will be in contact with the rotors, we recommend replacing the pads, too.

4. Brake Fluid Leaks

The most common sign of a brake fluid leak is having an oily substance on the ground. This leak can come from metal and rubber brake lines as well as the master cylinder, calipers, and wheel cylinders.

If you notice a brake pedal leak, tow the vehicle to our tire and brake shop in Jamestown, TN—don’t take a chance on driving the car. If you ignore this, the brake pedal may “travel” or go all the way to the floor, which can adversely affect your vehicle’s ability to stop.  

5. Brake Lights Stay On or Off

If your brake lights don’t come on, this means there’s a burned-out bulb, a break in the wiring (rare but it happens), or the brake light switch is bad. The other common problem is that the brake light switch malfunctioned. In these instances, replace the part that causes the issue.  

Now, if the brake lights stay on, this means the light is malfunctioning. Have someone watch the brake lights while you pull up on the pedal. If the lights go off, the problem lies the brake light switch.

6. Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell, the brake pads are stuck against the rotors, and the pad material is hot enough to smoke and burn. Immediately stop the vehicle and call a tow truck to bring your vehicle to the nearest shop. 

7. Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal

If your brake pedal feels soft or spongy when you apply pressure, it could be an indication of air in the brake lines, low brake fluid, or worn brake pads. Soft or spongy brakes are risky as it’s a sign that your stopping ability has been compromised.

If this is the case, have a professional mechanic inspect your brake system, replace any worn parts, bleed the brake lines, and refill the brake fluid as needed.

8. Pulling to One Side

If your vehicle pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, it could indicate a stuck brake caliper or uneven wear on the brake pads. This can cause uneven braking, reducing your ability to stop your vehicle quickly and putting you at risk of an accident.

The solution: Have a professional mechanic inspect your brake system and replace any worn parts, free any stuck brake calipers, and realign your brakes.

Allow Independent Auto and Diesel Repair to Service Your Brakes

In a nutshell, brakes are crucial for your safety while driving. So, if you experience any of the above brake problems, don’t delay in seeking a mechanic’s help. Proper maintenance and prompt repairs can help ensure your brakes perform correctly and keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

If you need brake replacement or have other issues with the brake system, don’t hesitate to contact Independent Auto and Diesel Repair. Call us at (931) 863-2888 or stop by our full-service auto repair shop at 4859 S. York Hwy Jamestown, TN 38556.