As the owner of an SUV, it's important that you know the first signs and symptoms of a braking system problem. Your vehicle's brakes are one of its most vital safety features, and even simple issues can cause catastrophic accidents if not repaired in a timely manner. Also, basic repairs that are not completed in a timely manner will lead to further damage and cause your repair bills to grow exponentially.
If you notice any of these signs of a braking system problem, take your SUV into an auto repair shop, like Byrd Automotive Repair LLC, as soon as you can:
Seeing or Smelling Brake Fluid
If you notice a puddle of fluid on the ground under your vehicle, or if you smell a fishy motor oil smell coming from near the tires of your SUV, then it likely has a brake system fluid leak. Brake fluid is a thick oil that smells like burning fish when it leaks on the hot parts of the underside of your SUV. It is the only fluid with this distinctive smell.
Brake fluid leaks will leave puddles under the tires or suspension system of your SUV. If you have any fluid leaking near the tires or axles, then you likely have a brake fluid leak. It is vital to have the leak fixed soon, because if your SUV's brake fluid runs out, then you will not be able to stop your vehicle. A brake system without its lubricating fluid is prone to expensive damage to all of its moving parts.
Hearing a High-Pitched Sound When Driving or Braking
There are two causes of high-pitched sounds that come from your SUV's brake system:
- worn front brake pads
- dirt or dust on the rotors
The small pads on your SUV's front brakes are made from a very strong fire retardant material. The pads are manufactured in such a way that when they become worn, they will allow air to whistle through them as you drive down the road. The sole purpose of the whistling noise is to notify you that your brake pads need replacement.
Rolling down the window while you drive will allow you to hear the location of the sound, which will be coming from your front tires.
The second cause of a high-pitched sound is squealing when you apply the brakes. This noise is caused by dust and dirt that is on the brake's rotors. This is normal if you drive in an area with dirt roads, and it is not harmful to your SUV's braking system.
Feeling Vibrations When Braking
Finally, if you feel a vibration in the brake pedal when you apply the brakes of your SUV, then the rotors have become out-of-round and need to be professionally machined. While this is not a safety problem, the rotors will continue to degrade and if you don't repair them soon, then they may need to be completely replaced - at a higher cost.