By the Numbers

How to Diagnose Your Brake Problems

What is wrong with my brakes?

A simple, yet complicated question. What is exactly wrong with my brakes?

Understanding the standard automotive brake system is important to diagnosing brake problems. Identifying key issues like scratching, screeching, and unusual responses will help in determining the brake problem at hand.

Scratching & Screeching

  • The most common benign cause of scratching and screeching is rust on rotors and drums
  • When a vehicle sites for long periods of time in humid or wet weather, oxidation occurs, forming rust.
  • If you hear grinding or growing when applying the brakes, look for grooves in your brake disc rotors from worn brake pads and shoes.
  • Inspect the I wear indicators on your disc pads and check for forms of rust.

Unusual Response?

  • If your brake pedal feels harder, softer, or travels further than usual, the cause could be related to the hydraulic system or brake booster.
  • Inspect the fluid level, and all lines, hoses and fittings for leaks.
  • Braided lines should be flexible but firm, not brittle or cracked.
  • Seals should be dry, not brittle and wheel cylinders and brake calipers should move freely.

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The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.