Troubleshooting: Common Brake Issues and Causes

Troubleshooting: Common Brake Issues and Causes

September 8, 2023

Selective,Focus,Disc,Brake,On,Car,,In,Process,Of,NewMaintaining properly functioning brakes is crucial for the safety of both you and your vehicle. However, like any automotive component, brakes can experience issues over time. Identifying and addressing brake problems early on can prevent costly repairs and ensure your brakes are working optimally. In this blog post, we will discuss common brake issues, their causes, and provide troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose and resolve these problems.

1. Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal:

If you find that your brake pedal feels spongy or soft when you apply pressure, it could indicate air in the brake lines or a problem with the brake fluid. Air in the brake lines can result from a brake fluid leak or improper bleeding after a brake service. Inspect the brake lines for any fluid leaks and have a professional mechanic check and bleed the brake system if necessary. Additionally, check the brake fluid level and top it up if it is low.

2. Brake Fade:

Brake fade occurs when the brakes lose effectiveness and take longer to slow the vehicle down. It may be caused by overheating of the brake pads or brake fluid due to excessive or prolonged braking. If you experience brake fade, give your brakes a chance to cool down by reducing your speed and applying the brakes lightly. If the problem persists, you may need to have your brake pads replaced or have your brake system inspected for any issues.

3. Grinding Noise:

A grinding noise when you apply the brakes is a clear indication that your brake pads have worn down to their metal backing plates. Continuing to drive with worn brake pads can damage the rotors or drums, leading to more expensive repairs. Visit a mechanic as soon as possible to have your brake pads replaced and inspect the rotors or drums for any signs of damage.

4. Pulling to One Side:

If your vehicle pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, it may suggest a caliper or brake fluid issue. A sticky brake caliper can cause uneven braking force, resulting in the vehicle pulling to one side. Have a mechanic inspect the calipers and brake fluid for any problems. They may need to lubricate the calipers or replace them if necessary. Additionally, ensure that your tires are properly inflated and aligned, as improper alignment can also cause the vehicle to pull to one side.

5. Vibrations or Pulsations:

If you feel vibrations or pulsations in the brake pedal when you apply the brakes, it could indicate a warped rotor. Warped rotors can result from rapid cooling, such as driving through deep water or applying excessive braking force. You may need to have your rotors resurfaced or replaced to eliminate the vibrations. Additionally, ensure that the lug nuts securing the wheels are properly tightened, as loose lug nuts can also cause vibrations during braking.

6. ABS Warning Light:

The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) warning light on your dashboard illuminating can indicate a problem with the ABS system. It could be a sensor issue, a malfunctioning pump, or a problem with the ABS module. Have a mechanic use a diagnostic tool to retrieve the ABS error codes and perform the necessary repairs or replacements.

7. Brake Fluid Leaks:

Leaks in the brake system can cause a decrease in brake fluid level, resulting in reduced braking power or complete brake failure. Inspect the brake lines, calipers, and master cylinder for any signs of leakage, such as wet spots or fluid puddles. If you notice a leak, have a mechanic repair or replace the affected component and refill the brake fluid to the proper level.


Brakes are a critical safety component of your vehicle, and it is important to address any brake issues promptly. Spongy brake pedals, brake fade, grinding noise, pulling to one side, vibrations or pulsations, ABS warning lights, and brake fluid leaks are common brake problems that can occur. By understanding their causes and following the troubleshooting tips mentioned, you can diagnose and resolve these brake issues in a timely manner. However, it is always recommended to consult a professional mechanic if you are unsure or need assistance in diagnosing and repairing brake problems. Remember, maintaining your brakes in proper working condition ensures your safety and the safety of others on the road.

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Welcome to Auto Truck Service Inc. Auto Truck Service Inc. has been serving our local community of Everett since 1978. Locally owned and family operated, we provide a personal customer service experience to ensure that all your needs are met. With over 50 years of experience, we are not here to give anyone the runaround; we get the job done right the first time. Our knowledgeable staff will ensure that we get to the bottom of your issue and get you back out on the road in no time. Our services include general auto repair, diesel services, marine engine repair, and custom machine shop services. We also provide repair services for fleet vehicles, motor homes, and high-performance vehicles. Stop in or call us today!

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