Symptoms and Treatments For Bad Brakes

Why Should You Use On Demand Brake Repair

Brakes giving you a headache? Here are some common problems, symptoms and solutions Brakes are one of those things that when life is good you’re not supposed to be thinking about. Like toilet paper, or breathing, they are super important, but when all is well in the universe, they’re just not something you want to ponder. However, since you’re reading this, apparently the universe is a little out of whack. Don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place. Rest assured that there are ways to get through brake problems with a minimum amount of drama and expense. Here are a few of the most common brake problem situations and solutions.

Symptom – Steering wheel ‘shimmy’

Your steering wheel ‘shimmies’ back and forth while braking at higher speeds, usually above 50 mph or so.

Problem – Front rotors are warped

Your front rotors are warped. “But my rotors look fine!” You can’t see it, but they are microscopically out of ‘true’. Solution – Replace the rotors (aaaand probably the pads, too) You will definitely need new rotors soon, because they’re only going to get worse and when it gets bad, steering wheel shimmy can be a safety issue. I mean, I’ve known plenty of people to live with it for a little while, but if you plan on keeping the car, then in my opinion, it makes sense to get it taken care of sooner than later. “So if I get new rotors, should I get new pads too?” you ask. You get different answers depending on who you ask, but I say that if the pads are in good condition and have at least 60% material left, it doesn’t hurt to reuse them. I give them a nice cleaning with some sandpaper and they should be ok. But I usually recommend that we do them together. Oftentimes the package deal you get when you buy 2 new rotors WITH pads is only slightly more than getting the rotors WITHOUT pads…crazy, right? So for a little more moolah, you get fresh pads and as a wise man once said: “There are few things better than that nice, clean feeling you get when you have both new rotors AND pads on your car, so treat yourself!” -wise man 🙂

Symptom – grinding noise

Metal on metal grinding noise when I apply the brakes

Problem – old brake pad

The brake material on the brake pad has completely worn away and now when you are applying the brakes, the pad BACKING (which is metal) is being pushed up against the face of the rotor. Solution – New pads and rotors! The bad news – you will likely need new pads and rotors for either your front or rear brakes (almost never both) The good news – your car is going to love you for it 🙂
Symptom – Embarrassing “Squealing” sound when you brake
Problem – this can be a couple different things There can be a number of problems to which this symptom points. Sometimes it that the rotor and pads got ‘glazed’. They get kind of shiny on their surfaces and when they are pressed together, this unpleasant high pitched noise is emitted. OR There is a little ‘wear indicator clip’ on many brake pads and its job is to make the 2nd most annoying sound in the universe (the first is a 6am alarm) when the brake pads is ALMOST worn to the metal backing. Almost being the operative word. If you don’t, extremely irritating sound translates into the vernacular as “Hey Genius! Get your brakes checked out before you ruin your rotors!”
Solution – Visually inspect it yourself OR if that doesn’t work, a professional diagnostic is in order.
So you can oftentimes look through the rim of your wheel and visually see the outer brake pad and see how close it is to the rotor. If you can get a visual on it and the pad is worn close to the rotor, then this is very likely the culprit. This is MUCH easier with the wheel off but if you have rims that are somewhat open, you can see most of what you need to see to diagnose it yourself. Usually. If your rims aren’t that open and if you don’t want to take the tire off and if you simply want a professional diagnostic, well, you’re come to the right place. Just click here to get scheduled for a smart and convenient brake diagnostic! If you have something that doesn’t fit into the above categories, we will do our best to help you figure it out. Give us a call! 602.741.3529 All the best, Nate

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