Signs My Brakes Are Going Bad

Can you imagine being unable to stop your automobile? We hope you never have to experience that fear. One way to make certain that your brakes always work is to have them inspected every 12,000 miles. In terms of a timeframe, this equates to once a year. This ensures that any worn parts are replaced and there is plenty of brake fluid in the system. If you have any of the following problems with your vehicle’s brake system, the brakes are going bad.

ABS/Brake Warning

The only time you should see the ABS or Brake light illuminated on the dashboard is when you first start your automobile. The Brake light will also illuminate when you set the parking brake. If these lights turn on at any other time, there is a problem with the brake system.

Strange Brake Noises

Your brake system can also give you an audible warning that it is going bad. Usually, it will grind, scrape, or squeal if there is a problem. This problem can be worn brake pads or a brake system that is overheating. We will talk more about the latter below.


Your automobile can also wobble or vibrate when you apply the brakes if there is a problem with the brake pads or the calipers. Warped rotors can also cause vehicle movement when you press down on the brake pedal. Braking should always be smooth.

Leaking Brown Fluid

If your brake system is leaking from the brake lines or the master cylinder, you will have brown fluid spots or puddles on the garage floor. In some cases, brake fluid also comes in the color red. Unscrew the fluid reservoir cap when the engine is cold to check the color of your brake fluid.

Soft Brake Pedal

If the master cylinder is going bad, your brake pedal may feel soft underneath your foot. It can also feel squishy or give and take. Usually, when the latter happens, it means that you have air in the brake lines. The pedal should always give you the same resistance.

Pulling to the Side

The brake system generally needs new calipers at 60,000 miles. If your vehicle pulls to the left or right when you press down on the brake pedal, you may have a stuck caliper.


Finally, we mentioned above that the brakes will squeal if they are getting too hot. They will also release burning odors such as chemicals or carpets. It’s important to pull over if your brakes are overheating because you may lose the ability to stop your car.

If it has been over 12,000 miles since you have had your brakes inspected, give our shop a call to set up a service visit.

Photo by gilaxia from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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