Common Brake Problems and Their Solutions


Owning a car requires maintenance after a certain period. To maintain your car, you have to regularly check the fluids such as engine oil, radiator fluid, and braking oil. If your braking oil is up to the maximum level and the braking system is disturbing your drive, then there might be some other brake problem. You don’t have to worry about it because it can be changed easily. 

There are some common brake problems such as soft brake pedal, the wheel steering shakes when you pull the brakes, the brake pedal pulses up and down. These common problems are having easy solutions. The most common brake problems are in a brake system, rotors, brake pads, brake fluid, brake shoes, etc. Other braking problems such as wheel cylinders, master cylinders, brake line, brake booster, proportioning valve, etc. are less common brake problems. 

Common Brake Problems and Their Solutions

Car Pulls to One Side 

When you pull the brakes, the car pulls to one side like left or right. It can be annoying and dangerous. This common braking problem is sometimes caused by tires but the main reason is a frozen caliper. Your braking system can have a frozen caliper over time and sometimes it goes unnoticed. The caliper freezes when the piston on the caliper gets stuck in its bore.

Another reason that the piston gets bent is when a car meets an accident or during the brake job. It cannot move freely and the brake fluid does not push back the caliper into the bore. As a result, it gets stuck and the car pulls to one side. 

To fix this problem, you can replace the caliper. If there is a problem with slide pins, then they should be lubricated, cleaned, or replaced with new ones. 

Steering Wheel Shakes 

This common braking issue comes in all models and makes. When you are driving your car at high speed and you apply the brakes, the steering wheel shakes. In this case, the braking system continues to perform well but the shaking steering wheel can cause hazards. 

For example, you are driving on the highway at high speed and apply the brakes but the steering wheel starts shaking, you might turn your steering to right or left. As a result, you steer the wheel because you thought brakes are not working and cause hazards on the highway. The shaking steering wheel can happen during hard or medium braking but it is not of much danger. 

The shaking steering wheel happens when your braking disc is worn out or warped. The instant shock heating and cooling of the brakes causes warping of the brake discs. If you have not changed the brake discs for a long time, then you should replace them at once as regular maintenance. Also, avoid excessive and sudden braking to avoid this braking problem in the future. 

Whole Car Shakes

After changing the front brake discs, you notice that after applying brakes, the whole car is shaking. As a rule of thumb, it happens due to faulty rear wheel discs. To check the problem, you can test the rear brakes in isolation. To test the rear drum brakes, apply the parking brake slightly while driving. 

To test it right, drive your car at 30 mph. Now push and hold the release button of the emergency brake. If you just pull the emergency brake, the car might spin and cause a serious injury or death due to an accident. So, pull the emergency brake to feel the rear brakes grab slightly. At this time, you feel the brake pulsations caused by the rear drums. 

To fix this problem, you can take your car to a professional mechanic to get the rear drums resurfaced. Measure the drums with a vernier caliper to check if the drums can be resurfaced. If not, replace the drums with a new one. 

In another case, if you are having rear disc brakes, the brake pulsations cannot be checked like the rear drum brakes. Some models and makes are having a separate emergency brake and it is not connected to the rear caliper and rotor. There is a separate braking system with a special drum inside the rear rotors. It makes it impossible to isolate the rear brakes. Hence, you might not be able to check rear brake pulsations. 

For rear disc brake pulsations, you can take your car to a professional mechanic to detect the exact fault. You might have to change the rear discs to avoid the common braking problem. 

Soft Brake Pedal 

The major brake problem is a soft brake pedal. In this case, if you are having a squishy brake pedal and it feels like stepping on the plum, then you won’t be able to stop the car unless you forcefully pump it. Also, if with little or no resistance, the brake pedal sinks to the floor, it is a dangerous situation. 

In this scenario, the drivers are prohibited to not to drive the car anymore. It is because the car won’t stop and it can hit anything. When the brake pedal becomes soft, it means that there has been a leakage in the braking system in the master cylinder. It can be both internally or externally. Hence, you should first check the brake fluid. 

To check if the master cylinder is leaking, grab a flashlight and look for the leakage under the dash and above the brake pedal. If it is leaking externally, you will see the fluid dripping from the master cylinder onto the car mat. The best solution for this case is that you should not drive the car anymore and replace the master cylinder with a new one by the professional mechanics. 

Brake Pedal Pulses Up and Down 

Another common brake problem happens when you apply the brake, the brake pedal pulses up and down. This problem is usually caused by out-of-true or warped rotors. The rotors go through the heating and cooling process thousands of times. As they age, it becomes inevitable to lose the trueness and shape of the rotors. If you drive on the highway more with hard braking habits, then you will face this common brake problem more. 

To fix this problem, take your car to the professional mechanic and ask him to resurface the rotors. If they are still thick enough than the minimum spec, then you can replace them with new ones. In this case, if your brake pads are more than half worn, then you should get them replaced too. Hence, you will get peace of mind. Otherwise, you will be facing the problem over again.

Common Brake Problems – Get Them Fixed and Avoid Road Hazards

The common brake problems can be unattended because of various reasons. Sometimes the car owners don’t focus on the braking problems and they lead to severe accidents. If you have a shaking steering wheel or whole car, it means the braking problem is in front or rear disc brakes. For a safer riding condition, make sure that you keep a check on the braking system and fluids. 

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