Seven Signs My Brakes Are Going Bad

Please don’t take chances with your vehicle’s brakes. If you suspect your brakes are going bad, it is much better to have them inspected sooner rather than later. Checkpoint Motors would be happy to check out your brakes if you notice any of the seven following signs of brake trouble. 

Grinding or Squealing Noises

Your brakes will make different noises depending on the problem. If your brake pads are still okay but need replacement soon, you might hear a squealing sound as you drive that stops when you brake. If you hear metal-on-metal grinding, your pads are already worn down and need replacement now.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

If your brake rotors require some TLC, you might feel vibration in your brake pedal when you apply the brakes. You could also feel the vibrations in your steering wheel, which might seem strange, but it does happen. Shaking can also be caused by your brake calipers not releasing properly.


If you see light brown, dark brown, or black fluid leaking onto your garage floor, it could be brake fluid. Brake fluid and motor oil are almost the same color, and the older and dirtier they get, the darker they turn. Brake fluid leaks from your master cylinder or brake lines, so get this checked out right away.

Sinking Brake Pedal

Your brake pedal should offer the same resistance – stopping about 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the floor – always. It should never sink lower than that or feel soft or spongy. If it does, head to an auto mechanic right away or pull over and get a tow because it’s dangerous to continue driving your car, truck, or SUV.

Pulling to the Side

Admittedly, your vehicle pulling the side could be your wheel alignment, but this usually happens when the vehicle is in motion. If your car, truck, or SUV pulls to the side when you brake, you might have worn rotors or calipers on one side only. You should always brake smoothly and straight without issue.

Hot Smell

You will smell a hot, chemical smell if your brakes are overheating. If they are, pull over to safety and call for a tow truck. Overheating brakes will ultimately fail because the brake fluid cannot perform its function, stopping your vehicle if it is too hot. You may also see smoke if a caliper is stuck.

Brake Warning Light

Sorry, we know this one is obvious, but it’s worthy of mention. If your brake warning light comes, have your brakes inspected right away. You may think they’re fine because your vehicle is stopping without trouble, but the warning light indicates there’s something wrong with the system somewhere.


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