Brake failure warning signs:
- Brake fluid is low and/or appears dirty
- Brake warning light comes on while driving
- Grinding or squealing sound when brake pedal is pressed
- The brake pedal feels “spongy” when pressed
- Vehicle steers or pulls to one side while brake pedal is pushed
What causes poor brake performance?
A variety of auto issues can adversely affect your car’s brakes, including:
- Crystallized brake pads: When brakes become hardened from heat, they can no longer effectively grip and stop the rotation of the brake drum or rotor. This condition usually occurs when brakes are overused, as well as from excessive panic stops or riding the brake.
- Oil or grease-soaked brakes: Caused by a failed oil seal, oil from the rear differential or front transaxle can accumulate on the brakes. Grease from a failed rubber boot can cause the same harmful accumulation.
- Loss of power: A loss of power from the power brake booster can also contribute to poor brake performance. Loss of power is often the result of a failed engine vacuum.
- Hot spots: Hardened spots on the metal material of the drum or rotor can form hot spots, ultimately causing the brakes to overheat. These hot spots resist friction, which must take place during the braking process. The result is the loss of brake power.