Understanding Noises from the Brakes

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Understanding Noises from the Brakes

Unusual brake noise or braking behaviors should serve as a warning that one of the most essential systems on your car is malfunctioning. It is all too common for drivers to ignore minor brake noises or irregularities for too long. Eventually you may end up in a situation where your vehicle requires a repair that is much more expensive than it would have been otherwise. Even worse, the vehicle is unable to stop in an emergency situation, causing an accident that could have been avoided. However, automotive brakes have a hard job. They are exposed to tremendous forces and generate a lot of heat every time you stop your vehicle. When you press on the brake, all the energy that your car creates by moving down the road has to be converted to heat through friction. The amount of friction created by stopping even a mid-size vehicle from freeway speeds is enough to make the brakes red-hot. The pounding that your brakes have to go through each time you use them to slow down means they may make noise or occasionally behave abnormally, even though nothing is wrong. It is always best to bring the vehicle in, so we can inspect it properly.

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Hearing a Rattle Noise

Brake rattle is a common concern for drivers. Most often brake rattle happens when you let up off the pedal. Suddenly you may hear a rattle. Usually it sounds like the rattle made when shaking a can of spray paint. The most common cause of this noise is the brake pads. The brake pads can rattle sometimes due to heat expansion, especially if they were installed without anti-rattle shims. Keep in mind that this rattle should not be consistent and it should never happen while you have your foot on the brake pedal. Under either of those conditions, you should have your brakes checked. It could be the sign of a more serious problem.

If the Brakes Grind

Brake grinding is always a serious problem, and should be dealt with immediately. There are two major causes of brake grinding. When your brakes are making a loud grinding sound when you press on the pedal, this is almost always caused by contact of the rotor disc with part of the caliper. This is usually because of extreme wear to the brake pads or rotors. If you wait until your brakes grind before servicing them, you will be in a worse situation. They will require a much more expensive repair. Another reason that brakes may make a grinding sound is when a foreign object, like a stone gets lodged somewhere in the caliper. When this happens, the brakes will usually make a consistent grinding or screeching sound when the vehicle is in motion.

Brake Fading that You Might Notice

Brake fade is a condition where the brakes have become overheated, and they do not function normally as a result. Brake fade is most common in situations where the brakes are being used much more than they usually would, such as going down a long hill. When you experience brake fade, the pedal will require extra effort to yield the same stopping power. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for what might be causing the issue. This can get you back to a safe and reliable ride.

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