Know the Signs of Brake Problems

Part of vehicle maintenance is to ensure safety. This is why brake inspections every 15,000 miles are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. Uptown Imports specializes in European automobile maintenance and repair. We offer full brake system services to our clients to ensure they can always rely on their brakes when they need them. Here are signs your vehicle’s braking system is having problems.


Unless you need to slam on the brakes and burn rubber, your brake system should be silent. If you hear grinding or scraping when you apply the brakes, this is a sign that your brake pads have worn down to their metal backing and are rubbing against the rotors. Squealing sounds at high speeds are the result of a low brake pad indicator embedded in the brake pads. Squealing sounds can also be a sign that your brakes are overheating.


You shouldn’t feel your brakes, either. Usually, if there is a brake system problem, you will feel shuddering or vibration in your brake pedal or steering wheel when you apply the brakes. This vibration can be a sign that the rotors are warped, which can happen if you ignore the grinding sound discussed above. It’s important to have any vehicle vibration checked as soon as possible because the shuddering can affect how well you can control your automobile.


You’ll smell burning rubber if you slam on the brakes, but this odor is coming from your tires. If you smell what seems to be carpet or chemicals that are burning when you apply the brakes, your brakes are overheating and you are entering into a very dangerous situation. Overheated brakes will fail, so park your European automobile in a safe place to allow the brakes to cool down. Be extra safe and call for a tow to an auto shop.

Brake Pedal Trouble

Your brake pedal should reach the end of its depression 1-to-1 1/2 inches from the floor. Manual brake pedals don’t go down as far power brake pedals do, but your vehicle is most likely equipped with power brakes. If your brake pedal sinks further to the floor or feels squishy, you may have a master cylinder that is going bad or air in your brake lines. Your brake pedal should always feel the same when you press down on it. Any changes to the sensation indicate a problem in the braking system.

Warning Light

Finally, your vehicle will warn you of brake problems by turning on the brake light even though you don’t have your parking brake set. If you drive an automobile that is equipped with an ABS braking system, the ABS light will turn on the system is malfunctioning. It’s important that you don’t ignore the warnings. This is usually a sign that the brake system sensors are reporting a problem, and even though everything feels okay, it might not be.

Call Uptown Imports in Minneapolis, MN, to schedule a brake system inspection if you suspect your European automobile is having brake problems.