Car brake problems

10 Common Car Brake Problems You Must Know

Your car’s braking system is one of the most important safety features. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, and you need to know what to look for if something goes wrong. Here are 10 common brake problems, plus how to identify them and what you should do about them.

Squeaky or grinding noises

So, you’re driving down the road in your car and all of a sudden, you hear a squeaking or grinding noise coming from the brakes. This is not something to ignore—it’s something to address immediately. If you don’t, it could lead to more serious problems that could potentially put lives in danger.

The reason why there’s an issue with your brakes is that either:

  • Your brake pads are wearing out and need replacement
  • Your brake rotors are worn out and need replacement
  • The brake calipers themselves may be worn out and need replacement


The first thing you should know about brake fluid is that it comes in two colors: clear and red. The reason for this is that the fluid contains glycol, which gives it an amber coloration. On top of that, brake fluid is poisonous—so if you drink it or spill some on your skin, it could cause serious health problems.

The next thing to know about brake fluid is how often you should change it. Brake fluid usually has a service life of about two years; but if your car was made before 2002 or so (when antifreeze began being used in the braking system), then changing the brake fluid once every year or two could be a better idea. When changing the brake fluid in your car yourself, remember to wear gloves and eye protection—and never pour old brake fluid down the drain! This can damage pipes and pollute water supplies with dangerous chemicals like phosphorus pentoxide (which has been linked to asthma attacks).

Spongy brakes

Brakes should not feel spongy, soft, mushy, or dragging. If they do, you may have a problem with your brake fluid level.

It’s important to check your brake fluid regularly and top it off when needed. If it’s low and hasn’t been changed in a while, the calipers will begin to leak and the pedal will feel spongy when you press down on it.

Air in a hydraulic braking system can cause similar symptoms but is less common than low brake fluid levels because air typically enters through either the master cylinder or reservoir (which are designed to take in all excess air).


Shuddering is the most common sign of brake pad problems. Brake pads wear out over time and need to be replaced as soon as you feel them getting too thin or soft. If you notice that your car is shuddering when you brake, this may indicate that your brakes need attention.

Brake pads can also be damaged by potholes or other problems with the road. If your vehicle has had some hard hits while driving over rough terrain, it’s possible that one of these incidents caused the problem because they cause the metal shoes in front of each wheel to make direct contact with their respective pistons inside each caliper assembly instead of gliding across them smoothly like they’re supposed to do when there aren’t any bumps in between them at all times during normal operation conditions (which usually means “when parked”).

Pulling to one side

If you pull to one side when braking, this is likely caused by a misalignment between your brake calipers and rotors. Brakes that are not properly aligned will wear unevenly and cause the vehicle to pull in one direction or another. This can be dangerous, so it is important to always check your brake pads regularly for signs of wear. If you notice that there is more than 5mm (0.2 inches) of pad remaining on either side of your rotors, they should be switched out as soon as possible.

Additionally, if your brakes feel spongy or soft when applying them during hard stops (rather than firm), they may need to be adjusted because their pistons may be sticking in their cylinders due to corrosion over time or because some rust has built up on them recently due to moisture exposure.

The brake light comes on

When your brake light comes on, it means that the brakes are being applied. This can be unsettling if you’re not used to seeing this happen, but there are several reasons why it might be happening. The most common reason for this is that your car is moving slowly and you’ve applied the brakes gently or lightly enough so as not to cause any movement of the car, but hard enough so that the sensor detects them. It’s also possible for brake lights to come on when idling at a stoplight or in park mode with no other cars nearby—this happens because these vehicles use sensors instead of traditional brakes (typically electric parking brakes), which sometimes don’t function as well as mechanical ones do.

Brakes are slow to engage

The first step in diagnosing a brake problem is to determine whether or not the brakes are actually engaging at all. If they are, but they’re just not releasing as quickly as they should be, then you may have a problem with your hydraulic system. A leaky master cylinder or bad fluid can cause this problem, so check those things first before moving on.

Brakes do not engage at all

If your vehicle’s brakes don’t appear to be working (or if it feels like they are), there may be an electrical issue that’s causing them not to function properly—or maybe something has been damaged beyond repair and needs replacing! In either case, you’ll need some help from an experienced mechanic who can diagnose what’s wrong and fix it quickly so that you can get back on track in no time

The brake pedal hits the floor

There are several ways that this could be happening:

  • The brake fluid level may be low.
  • You may have a leak in one of your brake hoses.
  • Your brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your local mechanic immediately for inspection and repairs.

The car pulls to one side

If your vehicle pulls to one side, it signifies a problem with the wheel alignment. A bent or worn suspension can cause this issue as well as a worn tire, brake pad, or disc.

Strange smells when braking

If you smell burning rubber, metal, or dust while braking, then it means that your brake pads need to be replaced. This is a common problem that occurs when the brakes become worn down and do not work as effectively as they did before.

When you smell burning oil while braking then there may be a problem with your master cylinder. The master cylinder is responsible for sending fluid through the lines and hoses throughout your vehicle’s hydraulic brake system. If this part malfunctions or becomes damaged then it could cause leakage of fluid into other parts of your car which will lead to problems like overheating or even fire in extreme cases!

If you notice any strange smells coming from behind when applying pressure on your brakes then it may indicate an issue with either one of two things: either (a) something has been spilled onto hot exhaust pipes causing them to burn off, or (b) a leak has developed somewhere within the cooling system due overuse/abuse resulting from driving conditions such as heavy rainfall, etc…

It's important to stay on top of your car's brake maintenance.

If you want to make sure that your car is as safe as possible, it’s crucial to stay on top of your brake maintenance. Brakes are one of the most important parts of any vehicle because they help keep you and others safe by bringing the car to a stop when needed.

It’s important to maintain your brakes regularly so that they have enough friction and pressure in them for optimum performance. If you fail to do this, it can lead to serious problems with stopping distances and overall safety in case of an emergency situation like an accident or sudden stop at an intersection or traffic light.

You should also be aware that wearing out is inevitable; no matter how well-maintained a set of brakes may be, they will eventually need replacement due to wear and tear over time (sometimes even just after one year).


If you think that your car is having trouble with its brakes, it’s best not to ignore it. Brakes can be a dangerous part of your car, so if you notice that something is wrong, make sure to call a mechanic or go see one right away!