How Can I Tell if My Brakes Are Bad?

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Preventative maintenance is the best way to gauge your car, truck, or SUV’s brake system. An auto technician inspects the system and tells you how much life it has left. Still, there are signs that you might be facing brake trouble soon if you don’t have your brakes repaired. Padron Automotive recommends bringing your vehicle in for a brake inspection if you notice any of the following.

Unusual Noises

Unless they are wet, your brakes shouldn’t grind, squeak, or squeal. If they do, they’re telling you something is wrong. For example, if you hear a grinding sound each time you apply the brakes, your brake pads have lost their cushion. In other words, they have worn down all the way to their steel backs and you could damage your rotors if you don’t replace them.


Another sign of brake trouble is unusual movement when you apply the brakes. Your brake pedal, steering wheel, or vehicle should not bounce up and down, vibrate, or wobble when you apply the brakes. Your vehicle should also not pull to one side or the other when you apply the brakes. Any odd movement is sign brake parts, such as the calipers, are damaged.

Spongy Brake Pedal

Your brake system master cylinder pushes brake fluid through the brake lines to force the pads and shoes against the rotors and drums to slow down and stop your vehicle. If you notice your brake pedal feels spongy or soft, you may have air in your brake lines or trouble with your master cylinder. Your brake pedal should feel the same each time you depress it to stop your automobile.

Fluid and Smells

Finally, if you see dark brown fluid leaking onto your garage floor it could be brake fluid. Most people think it’s motor oil, but brake fluid also turns dark brown when it’s dirty. Have the source of any fluid spots on your garage floor checked to make sure you don’t have a system leak and also burning smells. If you smell something burning when you press on the brakes, your brakes are overheating.

Overheating brakes are serious as they can fail, so bring your vehicle into Padron Automotive in Topeka, KS, at the first sign of brake trouble. We are a full-service auto shop and our Topeka customers call us today to set up appointments for preventative maintenance and automotive repair. We’d be happy to inspect your brake system and recommend service or replacement.