What are the telltale signs that your brake system needs replacement?
- Brake warning light turning on
- Pulling to one side when braking
- Strange sounds coming from the brakes
- Less resistance and more vibration
There is probably no single most important truck part in the Philippines or any other country in the world. Each and every component of your truck is just as valuable and crucial to the vehicle’s functionality as the next one. If one were to break or malfunction, you won’t be able to safely hit the road – that’s a 100% guarantee! However, if we were to pick a component that deserves a bit more attention than the rest, then we’d have to go with the brake system. The brake system is responsible for decreasing the speed of the vehicle and allowing it to safely come to a halt. It is one of the most abused truck parts, especially for drivers in the Philippines where a daily commute involves traveling through stoplight-filled streets and/or crowded freeways where a lot of starts and stops are needed. On average, brake components need to be replaced after punching in somewhere between 50,000 miles (80,467.2 km) to 70,000 miles (112,654.08 km) – a small distance for a commercial truck. However, premature wear and tear can happen and prompt the need for a brake system replacement. When this occurs, your truck is going to display a number of signs and symptoms. We’ve listed what these are below, so keep reading to find out more!
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Brake Warning Light Turns On
Modern vehicles are equipped with three different types of brake warning lights. One is to remind that the parking brake is engaged, another is to alert of a problem in the anti-lock braking system, and the third is to indicate that there is a serious problem in the actual brake system. Of the three, and for the purposes of this article, you need to focus on the third and final type of brake warning light. In case you weren’t aware what this looks like, it’s usually a red symbol on your dashboard with the word ‘brakes’ above or below an encircled exclamation point. When this illuminates, it is a sure sign that you need to replace, or at the very least, repair a component in the system. It’s also important to note that there are vehicles that only have one brake warning light. If you’re an owner of one, then ensure that the parking brake isn’t engaged before you diagnose other possible breaking issues.
Pulling to One Side When Braking
A good sign that something is wrong with your brake system is when your truck pulls to one side when you’re braking. What this means is that the vehicle is trying to make a right or left turn by itself and without any driver input. There are many possible culprits in this scenario, and most of them are part of the brake system. Some likely scenarios include a stuck caliper that is only causing friction on one wheel, a broken and/or collapsed brake hose that is causing the calipers to move unevenly, and unevenly worn-out brake pads that apply different amounts of pressure to your wheels. Although this is usually a problem with the brake system, it is also possible that the tires or the suspension system are the problems. Either way, it’s best to take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic once you notice it pulling to one side when you’re braking.
Strange Sounds from the Brakes
There are two sounds you want to listen to when checking your truck’s brake system: squealing or screeching and grinding. Both these sounds should be loud enough that you could hear them even with the windows up. However, the sound may not reach you if you’re blaring music from the stereo or wearing earphones when you drive (both are not recommended for all drivers). What you might hear is the sound of metal-to-metal contact — because that’s exactly what’s happening! When you hear this, it means that your brake pads are worn out and the wear bar (a slender piece of metal that serves as an indicator) has been exposed. Although there isn’t any danger in driving a few more miles to your mechanic, you should refrain from using your truck for any heavy-duty applications such as hauling or towing loads and traveling long distances. If you continue to use the truck, then you risk putting yourself in great danger. On top of that, your truck, specifically the brake system, is going to sustain an additional amount of damage that may make repairs and replacements a lot more expensive.
Less Resistance and More Vibration
You should be met with a good amount of resistance and very little vibration whenever you press on your brake pads. If the opposite happens, which means that there’s little to no resistance or noticeable vibrations, then it means that there’s something wrong with one of your braking components. Lack of resistance means that the brake pedal sinks to the floor instead of just halfway or a third of the way through. It’s a sign that there is either an air leak or a brake fluid leak. The former is slightly harder to diagnose, while the latter should be accompanied by the presence of a small puddle of slimy liquid when the truck is parked. As for vibrating or pulsating brake pedals, it often means that you have warped rotors. The rotors usually sustain damage from severe and long braking that occurs when you’re driving down a steep road or whenever you’re towing a great amount of load. During these situations, these truck parts are introduced to a lot of friction, causing them to heat up and warp.
As said previously, there is no single most important truck part in the Philippines or in other countries because every single component of your truck is important to give drivers a safe and comfortable ride. However, it is important to pay extra attention to your brake system. This is what keeps you on the road and prevents you from getting into any major accidents. Driving around with a broken brake system can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening accidents that we’re sure you don’t want to be part of. Luckily, the system sends off signs to tell you that it needs repairs and replacements. If you watch out for these signs and act accordingly, you should have nothing to worry about whenever you’re out on the road!