Understanding the Brake System

Unusual brake noise or braking behaviors should be treated as a warning that one of the most essential systems on your car is malfunctioning. The brakes are exposed to tremendous forces and generate a lot of heat every time you stop your car. When you press on the brake, all the energy that your vehicle creates by moving down the road has to be converted to heat through friction.

A rattle noise from the brakes is a common issue for drivers. Most often brake rattle happens when you let up off the pedal. Suddenly you may hear a rattle. Usually it sounds like the rattle made when shaking a can of spray paint. Brake pads can rattle sometimes due to heat expansion, especially if they were installed without anti-rattle shims. Keep in mind that this rattle should not be consistent and it should never happen while you have your foot on the brake pedal.

Typically, there are 2 major causes of brake grinding. When your brakes are making a loud grinding sound when you press on the pedal, this is almost always caused by contact of the rotor disc with part of the caliper. This is usually because of extreme wear to the brake pads or rotors. Another reason that brakes may make a grinding sound is when a foreign object gets lodged somewhere in the caliper. When this happens, the brakes will usually make a consistent grinding or screeching sound when the vehicle is in motion.

Brake fade is a condition where the brakes have become overheated, and they don’t function normally as a result. Brake fade is most common in situations where the brakes are being used much more than they usually would, such as going down a long hill. When you experience brake fade, the pedal will require extra effort to yield the same stopping power. One way to prevent brake fade is by using engine braking techniques. Use the lower gear functions on your transmission so that the vehicle’s engine and drivetrain controls the vehicle’s speed. In extreme cases, the safest option is to pull over the vehicle and wait for the brakes to cool. If you notice an issue with the brakes or your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment and bring it in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for you.