We here at Advanced Automotive cannot stress enough how dangerous overheating brakes are. If your vehicle’s brakes overheat, they have a very high chance of failing. If you have a bad habit of riding the brakes – keeping your foot on the brake pedal all the time – try to break it. Riding the brakes will overheat them, as can mechanical problems. To avoid the latter, have the brakes inspected every 15,000 miles to ensure the parts are in good shape and operating as they should be. If your brakes do overheat, you will notice any or all of the following three signs.
1. Changes in How Your Brake Pedal Feels
Things can get pretty wet here in Stanwood, WA, and the combination of water and air can build up in your car, truck, or C/SUV’s brake fluid reservoir. When this happens, the water and air begin to boil and steam much like a boiling pot on your stove. You will start to feel changes in how your brake pedal feels, such as sponginess or too much give. This is called brake fluid fade and it’s a sign your brakes are overheating. Changes in brake pedal feel can also be caused by brake line or master cylinder trouble.
2. Your Brakes Smell and/or Are Smoking
As the brake fluid continues to boil, your brakes will begin to smell hot, much like a burning chemical or carpet smell, and they could even start to smoke. It’s important to understand that once the brakes get this hot, they’re going to fail. Not only is the brake fluid boiling but the brake pads are glazing – more on that below. As the brake pads overheat, they will release smoke, which is a sure sign you need to pull over right away and stop driving your car. Actually, you should pull over at the first sign of trouble.
3. Your Brakes Are Squealing Like Crazy
Your car, truck, or utility vehicle’s brake pad surfaces are rough. They press against the rotors to generate friction and this friction is what stops your automobile. If the brake pads get too hot, their surfaces become smooth or “glaze,” and once this happens, your brakes will squeal loudly. Your brakes shouldn’t squeal, so the sound is a sign of trouble. If the sound is combined with the other two symptoms listed above, you can bet your brakes are overheating. Call for a tow to avoid brake failure.
Advanced Automotive is a full-service auto shop in Stanwood, WA, and we work on brake systems. Call us today for an appointment at the first sign of trouble.