Brakes are essential for your safety when it comes to automobiles. Having healthy brakes can save your life or someone else’s. To ensure that your brakes are up to date, it is important to know when they are wearing out. Just like oil, wipers, and other car parts, brakes require routine maintenance to remain functional. Overall, brakes are supposed to be pretty quiet. So, one of the best ways to tell your brakes are wearing out is to listen to them. How quiet or not quiet they will be is a key indicator in if they need to be replaced.

How do Brakes Work?

Two brake pad for disc brakes of car on a white background. Spare parts for car maintenance, brake system consumables.Brakes for cars, trucks, and SUVs are either a drum or a disc. While drums have been the go-to for many decades, the disc is starting to become more popular. This is because they are better at eliminating heat that is created from braking. Heat is the enemy of good braking, which is why disc brakes are placed on the front of the car where the bulk of the braking load goes. If you were to look at the braking system today, you would see that most vehicles have disc brakes in the front. However, the drums have not been forgotten altogether. Some manufacturers still have them in the rear.

Why do Brakes Fail?

It isn’t typical for brakes to suddenly fail. Most of the time brakes wear out over time due to a few causes:
  • The friction material on the shoes or pads wears down.
  • The rotors are worn from the friction of the pads.
  • While calipers don’t wear out, over time, the pistons can freeze in the cylinders and require replacement.
Brake wear out and brake fail service Those are the main parts of your brake system that will need servicing. However, it is never a bad idea to have the whole system checked on a regular basis. This is why your Ford service technician will always check the entire system when doing a brake inspection.

Brake Noises and Warning Signs

When brakes wear, they can get pretty noisy. Any time you begin to hear your vehicle start to make strange noises, it is time to get it checked. Especially if you believe you hear those noises from your brakes. These are some noises and warning signs to look out for when it comes to your brakes:
  • Grinding, squealing, or clicking
  • Soft or spongy brake pedal
  • Pulsating, vibrating, or shuddering
  • Pulling to one side while braking
  • Excessive drag
  • Increased distance needed to stop
It is a good rule of thumb to keep tabs on any changes in your car’s performance. These changes are your car’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong.

Troubleshooting Common Brake Symptoms

Grinding Noise
   

Grinding Noise

If you hear what sounds like metal on metal, then it usually means that the friction material on your brake pads is gone. That means that there isn’t much braking material left, and you will start to tear up your braking system. Chances are both your brake pads and rotors will have to be replaced. It is essential to get your brakes fixed immediately to keep from damaging your braking system.
Squealing Noise
   

Squealing Noise

Most disc brakes are designed to have a wear indicator that will let you know when they are thin. Depending on the brakes, they will either squeal while you are driving or when the brakes are applied. When you hear this, it is time to get new brakes.
Clicking Noise
   

Clicking Noise

This can happen if the clip that holds the pads in place comes loose or breaks.
Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal
   

Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal

This will usually mean there is air in the braking system. Having air in the braking system can cause brakes to feel soft or mushy and cause the pedal to go further towards the floor. Brake fluid will help add resistance as you press the brake pedal to stop.
Pulsating or Vibrating Pedal
   

Pulsating or Vibrating Pedal

This typically means there are uneven spots in the rotors. The pulsating could also be caused by the antilock braking system (ABS) operating normally.
Pulls to One Side
   

Pulls to One Side

If your vehicle is pulling to one side, then this can mean that one of your calipers is freezing or is “hung up.” It can also mean that there is a brake fluid leak in one of the calipers. Either way, it means that one of your calipers is having trouble and needs immediate service.
Pump Running
   

Pump Running

If you hear something that sounds like a pump running after you brake, then that can be the ABS pump. This could be caused by one of the wheel speed sensors not working, which causes your vehicle’s computer to think the wheel is locked up. In addition to this, if you see your ABS warning light come up on your dash, it is time to get it checked. This light always means bad news, so to stay safe, bring your vehicle in.
ABS and Pump Running
   

Drag When Accelerating

A drag can happen when you forget to disengage the emergency brake. If this isn’t the case, then it could be corrosion on the emergency brake that causes it to be engaged even though it has been released.
Drag when accelerating
   

Healthy Noises

Not all brake noises mean you need an immediate brake job. There are some that are normal such as squeaking from humidity or from sitting overnight. Or there could be a little rust on the rotors that is being rubbed away by the brakes. Either way, these squeaks typically disappear and aren’t much of a problem. If it goes away after applying the brakes a couple of times, then you’re good.

Why choose Ford for Your Brake Repair?

It is easy to make mistakes when it comes to fixing your brakes. Some of the most common ones are putting the rotors in backward, or not measuring the rotor thickness. There are some other common mistakes that can happen as well, all of which can result in some costly damages. Your local Ford dealership has factory-trained technicians ready to service your vehicle. Their training has been created by the same company that built your vehicle. This means that they have the knowledge, OEM parts, and training to make sure your service is done correctly the first time.