Brake Failure: What to Do and How to Avoid It

For a driver, there is no scarier sensation than realizing that your brakes have failed. Regardless of speed, the helpless feeling can be stressful for any driver, which is why it’s important to remain calm and know the various ways you can slow yourself down. Often a result of part fatigue, the traumatic experience can be avoided altogether by scheduling routine maintenance and paying attention to several key warning signs.

What is Brake Failure

Whether we want to believe it or not, brake failure is a dangerous possibility with any vehicle. Because every braking system is composed of multiple parts and points of friction, there are several variables that can cause brake failure. The most common cause is simple wear and tear. Years of braking can significantly affect pad performance and create hotspots throughout the system that reduce the friction necessary to slow your vehicle.

What to Do if Your Brakes Fail

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remain calm. Keeping a level head will allow you to navigate the situation and troubleshoot brake failure effectively. The first thing you should do when you realize your brakes have failed is to down shift immediately, working your way into lower gears. Downshifting too fast will result in a skid so it’s important to go down one gear at a time. Another option for those with regular brakes, pumping them may result in the build up of enough fluid pressure to resolve the failure.

Another workaround to help slow your vehicle is to slowly pull the emergency brake. While this won’t bring you to a complete stop, it’s an effective way to reduce the speed of your vehicle, allowing you time to safely pull over. Above all, it’s important to turn your hazards on and calmly get over to the right lane.

Warning signs/time to make a change

Brake failure can be prevented. Proper vehicle maintenance and knowing what to look and listen for in your braking system will allow you to identify potential risks before they fail. Below are some common indicators that your brakes may be susceptible to failure.

  • A warning light is displayed on your dash. The typical indicator is that you’re low on brake fluid.
  • Your vehicle is pulling to the left or right when stopping. This is an indicator of brake misalignment, fluid leakage, or worn out brakes.
  • Your brakes are making unusual squeaking and grinding noises. This is an indicator of worn brake pads.
  • Your brake pedal feels hard to press down. This means that air has gotten into your brake lines or that you’re low on fluid.

If your vehicle is displaying any of these signs, have your brakes inspected by a local technician to identify potential issues before they become a problem. For replacement parts, contact the knowledge employees and technicians at Sanel NAPA to ensure your vehicle is equipped with parts that last.

About Sanel NAPA

Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 42 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting in order to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.

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