Modern vehicle brake systems use basic hydraulics where friction is applied to slow and stop the movement of the wheels. When a driver presses the brake pedal, pressurised hydraulic fluid is sent to the brake components, and the resulting friction slows the vehicle down to a halt.

Symptoms of a brake system problem

  • If the brake pedal goes down too far.
  • If the vehicle pulls aside during braking.
  • If the brakes drag and the vehicle do not roll freely.
  • Grinding noise under braking condition.

Quick safety tips

  • Brake fluid level should always be close to the ‘max’ mark. Low levels may indicate that the brake pads are tired and worn.
  • How does brakes feel underfoot? A hard or spongy pedal can be an indication of air in the hydraulic system.
  • A red brake-warning light that stays on may indicate an imbalance in the car’s hydraulic system or worn brake pads.
  • Noise while braking (e.g. screeching, squeaking or grinding) is a sign of worn and/or damaged brakes.
  • If there is an odour of burnt brakes, it’s a highly dangerous situation and may indicate brake failure. Brakes should be replaced immediately.
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