What Causes Grabbing Brakes?

Nov 20


Andrew Stratton

Andrew Stratton

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How to tell why your brakes grab and what can cause it.

Ironically automotive brakes that grab when applied are not just brakes that “really work” as some novice drivers are inclined to think. Grabbing brakes is actually an indicator that your brakes are not working properly and this is dangerous. This can be an indicator that you have oil or other engine fluids in your brake shoes or linings. It could also,What Causes Grabbing Brakes? Articles less commonly, indicate that your car’s brake drums are incorrectly sized.

Your mechanic will likely look for scoring on your rotors when the tires are pulled off and the brakes can be safely accessed. Scoring refers to intense scratching or grooves on the rotors that can lead to brake grabbing. In the worst case scenario scoring can lead to binding which makes the car’s wheels slow improperly and can lead to brake failure or the car pulling to one side when the brakes are applied. Any of these conditions can be dangerous and can result in your car failing to stop when you need it to.

When your brakes work properly they should not be grabbing, pulling, vibrating or making any noise at all. These are all indicators that there is a problem that you need to address with your braking system.
Other indicators that may be mistaken for other car problems including an alignment problem include a car that pulls to one side or the other when the brakes are applied. This can indicate that your brake pads are shot and need immediate replacement.Regardless of the actual cause, the problem does need to be addressed quickly because it means your automobile is unsafe and you need a brake repair job done.

Your mechanic that you trust to do your brake repair job should be able to tell you if your rotors have been improperly scored causing your brake grab. They should also be able to tell you if you have fluid in your brake shoes or lining that doesn’t belong there or if your grabbing issue is due to something else.
Other problems that can lead to grabbing can include your brake pads being worn out and to thin. Your mechanic should be able to tell you how thick your brake pads are so you can gauge for yourself if you need to replace them yet. Ideally brake pads start out at 10-12 mm of thickness but as they wear down they need to be replaced.

By the time your brake pads are at a 4mm thickness they are in the last stage of usability and should be replaced sooner rather than later. By the time your brake pads are making metal to metal noise against the brake rotor your pads are likely at a 2mm thickness and your options are to either replace them or park your car because you basically no longer have any braking power.Hopefully with a little maintenance and a little planning you won’t wait until your brakes are pulling, grabbing or squealing to know they need to be maintained and replaced.

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