Saturday, July 7, 2012

Car care: trouble-shooting braking problems

[Article copyright Ewe Paik Leong]

Two kinds of braking systems are commonly in use: drums and discs. The more expensive disc system is often used in the front of the car; the cheaper drum system, in the rear. The latest braking system is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) which improves braking distance and maintains steering control.

Braking problems are dangerous and must be attended to at once.

*If there is squealing noise during braking, it means that the brake pads have worn out. It can also indicate that the rotor or calipers have worn out.
*When braking produces a metallic grinding noise, it means that the brake lining is worn out.
*Does your brake feel low and spongy? Do you require pumping to stop your car? Either condition can arise from air in the hydraulic system or a leak in the braking system.
*A high brake pedal indicates a defective booster in your power braking system.
*When the pedal hops up when braking, it signals that the brake drum or rotor is either no longer round or is wobbling.
*If the brake pedal sinks to the floor when you depress it and the car continues to roll, possible causes are a defective master cylinder, air trapped in the brake system or insufficient brake fluid.
*A brake warning light that stays on after the handbrake is released indicates hydraulic leak, brake fluid leak or an electrical fault.
*If the wheel locks during braking, the trouble could be caused by out-of-round brake drums, loose wheel cylinders or faulty hydraulic valves.
*If the car pulls to one side during braking, where the brake system is concerned, the fault may lie with a plugged brake hose, a stuck wheel cylinder or caliper piston.
*When you press on the brake pedal, it vibrates (you don’t have ABS). Possible causes are your tyres are damaged structurally, the lug nuts on the wheel are loose or your steering components are loose.


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