Brake should be considered as a vital safety feature and we should replace components, such as shoes and pads when they wear out. How often we need to do this could depend on where we drive and our driving habits. City driving with plenty of stops and starts will wear down the pads of brake faster. Also, cars that tow loaded trailers will require brakes to work harder. In general, we should change brake pads after 35,000 miles. More expensive pads could last up to 80,000 miles. Brake is an essential part of our car and we should listen for strange sounds. This will allow us to get some clues about the overall health of our car.
- Grabbing and pulling to one side: The car may be pulled to one side when we hit the brake. Overall, this can be caused by multiple reasons. As an example, the brake cables could be frozen. There could also be leakage of brake fluid, oil or grease. The brakes could also be improperly adjusted.
- Loss of brake: This could happen when the brake fluid is leaking. It could happen when we have faulty brake line and bad master cylinder. Any dependable mechanic should be able to diagnose and identify the problem quite easily.
- Vibration on the pedal: This could be caused by warps on the surfaces of the brake system. When excessive heat and wear occurs at the same time, the surface of drum or rotor could wrap. This will cause vibrations when we step on the brake pedal. Unfortunately, when the wear has reached this stage, we will need to replace the brake components and resurfacing them may not be a good idea.
- Clicking noises: Clicking could happen due to broken or worn brake pad. This is a more serious condition, because the pad has broken, causing rattling or clicking noises during braking.
- Excessive drag when accelerating: This could happen if we never use our emergency brake. Its cable may freeze and become rusty.
Whatever happens, we should avoid incidences like lost brake performance. A catastrophic brake failure is something that we should avoid. Fortunately, such a situation doesn’t happen overnight. Lost braking performance could be caused by crystallized brake pads or shoes. Brake works well when the pad grabs and holds the rotor or drum surface. As the brake works in this way, some amount of heat is generated. When we stop the car too fast too often, the brakes could become overused. This will cause the surface to crystallize and harden. When this happens, the surface of the brake pad won’t properly grab the rotor surface and the car won’t stop effectively.
Another thing that happens is when the brake is soaked with oil or grease. In this case, we should fix trans-axles and broken boots. When they are broken, grease and oil may prevent the brake from being effective. There could also be some hot spots in the brake rotors that can overhead, causing spots of crystallization to occur on some parts of the rotor.