Brake failure, top 7 causes
Brake failure in an automobile can be serious, and each year leads to hundreds of car accidents. Some of these accidents result in serious injury or death and in all likelihood could have been avoided if the driver had noticed the signs of brake failure. Let’s consider the seven most common causes of brake failure in cars today.
1. Owner Neglect
The most common cause of brake failure is owner neglect. Brakes, like many other parts of an automobile, have a limited lifespan and should be occasionally inspected for wear. Although many brands of brake pads and shoes boast a long life, this estimate is based on standard driving patterns. If you find yourself constantly stopping and going in cities or neighborhoods, the life of the brake pads and shoes will be greatly reduced.
2. Overheating Brake Pads
Brake pads can overheat due to excessive use and become hard or brittle. This hardening decreases the ability of the pads to properly grip the wheel rotor disk, increasing the distance necessary to stop the car.
3. Damaged Rotor Disks
Damaged or “scored” rotor disks on the wheel can decrease the life of your brake pads, making stopping more difficult. Have your rotor disks smoothed or “turned” by a trained mechanic when your brake pads are replaced.
4. Leaking Hydraulic Fluid
Oil or other hydraulic fluid can leak from your car’s engine or brake lines. If you find stopping has become difficult, have your brakes inspected to rule out any contamination from a leaking hydraulic line.
5. Driving Through Mud or Water
Driving through mud or water will naturally “lubricate” your brake pads and rotor disks. Gently tapping the brakes can help remove excess water and re-establish the proper friction between your car’s brake pads and rotor disks. As always, use caution when driving in wet conditions, especially when your car’s wheels are partially submerged in water.
6. Loss of Hydraulic Brake Fluid Pressure
Loss of hydraulic brake fluid pressure will decrease your ability to stop quickly. If you find your brakes do not seem to work at all or are working only modestly, tap the brakes several times to help force fluid throughout the brake system. Though effective in helping stop your car, this technique should not be used unless absolutely necessary. Have a certified brake specialist check your brake system for any leaks and refill the reservoir with brake fluid.
7. Overloading Your Automobile
Overloading any automobile will change its ability to stop and can potentially damage the braking system. Only load your car as suggested by the owner’s manual.