You know something feels “off” about your car, but you can’t tell what. Here are some ways to tell if your car is experiencing brake issues.

Your ABS light is on

Even though your brakes feel fine, if your anti-lock brake light comes on, you should take your car into an experienced automotive technician. At best, this means that there’s an electrical problem with your car that’s making the light pop on. At worst, your brakes might fail soon. Don’t ignore your car when it’s giving you obvious maintenance alerts.

Pumping brakes

If your car only stops when you repeatedly step on the brakes, known as “pumping” the brakes, this could be a dangerous problem. This could be an issue with your master cylinder. If you notice any vehicle fluids around your brake pedals, it could be a sign that the master cylinder is leaking. Even if you don’t notice a leak, it could mean that there is air in the brake line. It’s important that you bring your car to a professional automotive technician to solve your brake problems. A pedal should never feel spongy or require pumping in order to work properly.

Your car is shaking

Your car should never come to a shuddering stop. If you notice you have to put more pressure on the brakes when you stop, or your whole car vibrates when you hit the brakes, it’s time to bring it into the shop for reliable car maintenance. This could be a sign of a warped rotor or a problem with your vehicle’s drum. Other warping issues can result in a loud squeaking sound, a grinding noise, or a clicking whenever you come to a stop. If there isn’t a warping problem, you might just need some new brake pads to replace your old, thinning ones. Brake pads usually only last around 30,000 miles, so be aware of your odometer and get maintenance when it’s needed.

Your car is pulling to one side

If your vehicle veers to one direction when you brake the car, this could be a sign of frozen brakes, an issue with your alignment, or a brake pad issue. This can be hard to identify on your own so bringing your car to a reliable automotive technician for diagnosis is a necessity.

How do I prevent brake issues?

You can prevent brake failure through regular maintenance and annual check-ups. Bring your car into the shop at the first sign of something wrong. This can not only save money, it will ensure you remain safe on the road.

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