Recognizing the warning signs of failing brakes can reduce the risk of a car accident. The majority of car crashes are caused by driver error. In accidents that occur because of vehicle problems, issues with the brakes are responsible for approximately 22 percent. Experts recommend watching for the following signs that indicate brake failure and having vehicles checked out by a trained technician at least once per year.
Warning Signs of Failing Brakes
Brakes can fail without warning, but in most cases, the driver has some notice that brake problems are brewing. On cars with anti-lock brake systems, warning indicators on the dashboard are sometimes the first sign of a problem. If a brake warning light illuminates, the driver needs to get brake service quickly.
Brakes are also designed with built-in warning tabs to alert drivers of potential problems. When the brake pads are nearing the end of their life, this warning tab causes a squealing sound when the brake pedal is depressed. This sound indicates it is time to have new brake pads installed because they have reached their wear limit.
Sometimes when a driver applies the brakes, they will make a grinding sound. This happens when the squealing sound was ignored and the pads broke down completely. If a grinding sound is heard, brakes should be serviced right away. If the brake pedal feels unusual when depressed, such as having a spongy feel or vibrating, it indicates a serious problem that could prevent the car from stopping altogether. This needs immediate attention because even the safest cars can develop brake problems. Hot wheels after driving a short distance or dust on the wheels are also signals that the brakes are close to failing.
What to Do When Brakes Show Signs of Failing
If a driver’s brakes are showing signs of an issue, getting professional service right away is important. Brakes should be serviced annually, but they can still fail even with these annual checks. When brakes fail and the result is a crash, the driver of the malfunctioning car can be held liable. The injured party can seek compensation with the help of a car accident lawyer. It is always best to avoid this problem altogether by ensuring the brakes are functioning properly at all times.