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Brake Repair - Learn How To Diagnose Common Problems

You don't have to be a trained mechanic to understand the fundamentals of brake repair diagnostics. Many problems are easily identifiable, which can save you some stress when bringing in your car.

Prompt brake repair is crucial for driver safety, but few people know how to diagnose common problems that can arise. While a replacement pad seems to be the de-facto solution (and it happens often enough that it usually is the answer), the braking system consists of several interactive components, any of which could be contaminated, failing, or knocked out of place. To save you some stress during your next visit to the brake repair shop, here are some tips on diagnosing problems.

Soft Pedal:
When you push down on the pedal to slow down, there should be some resistance. Your foot should not be able to push it to the floor without some effort. If you find there is too much give when you press down, there could be a variety of factors at play. One of the most common reasons for a soft pedal is low fluid or worn-out pads. Often these two issues go hand in hand. Low fluid levels indicate the pads will require replacement. A squealing noise accompanying little resistance will almost certainly be due to old pads. If it isn't the pads that are a problem, it might also be due contaminates in the fluid (such as air) which will require changing, a broken power boost unit, or a bad master cylinder.

Pedal Vibration:
One of the more difficult braking system problems to diagnose is pedal vibration. In some cars a small movement is normal, but if you have never experienced it before there is likely an underlying cause. As always, the pads and discs are the first place to start if those have not been replaced within several years. Vibrations can sometimes be due to contaminate such as oil clinging to the rotor. Another likely cause is that your wheels are misaligned. Unfortunately, if none of these solutions are helpful, there could be something more serious at hand such as a bad front suspension.

As you depress the pedal, your braking system should operate fairly smoothly (as long as you don't slam on it). Some people begin to experience an abrupt pulling to one side that can jerk the car. Old pads are a common culprit and quite easily fixed. However, the disc itself could also cause the pulling. Sometimes it is just one that requires replacement. However, you should always exchange them together in pairs to ensure you maintain the proper balance. Before bringing your car in for brake repair though, check the tire pressure to make sure it's even. Sometimes the simplest and least expensive solution is the right one.

Unusual Noises:
The most common noise to hear is a squeal when braking, which can be due to older pads or poor heat transfer (common in cold weather or when the car has not been run regularly). If after warming up the vehicle the noise persistsFeature Articles, bring it in to be inspected. A more alarming noise is a clunk sound and should be a greater concern. This can signify loose bolts or broke suspension parts.

Article Tags: Diagnose Common Problems, Brake Repair, Diagnose Common, Common Problems, Braking System

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