It doesn’t take a genius to realise that brakes are a really important part of your car. No one wants to be travelling down a dual carriageway at 70mph to realise their brakes don’t work! As brakes are a wear and tear item, you will need to take care of them and be ready to check them regularly. This also means that unfortunately, there are a lot of issues that can arise.

Soft and squidgy feeling brakes

Spongy, squidgy or mushy brakes are just some of the terms we hear. This can be caused by a few different things.

–  Air in the brake line or a damaged line can cause this as the braking system needs the hydraulic pressure to be evenly distributed.

–  Old contaminated brake fluid or a lack of it could also be a cause. The brake fluid transforms the force you press on the pedal into the force to bring the car to a halt. If this is contaminated, or there isn’t enough left then you will have trouble with your brakes.

–  Damaged cylinders can leak braking fluid so if you have to push your brake right to the floor, it could be because the fluid isn’t able to fully circulate the cylinders.

–  Your brake calipers have to endure an incredible amount of heat that is generated when braking. This can lead to squishy brakes as well as your car pulling to one side and a high pitched squealing when braking.


Excessive noise when braking

In general, your brakes making any sort of noise are a warning that something isn’t quite right. Whether it’s grinding, thudding or squeaky brakes, none are good news!

–  Usually, customers report a grinding noise (metal rubbing on metal) which can be caused by thin brake pads. If you imagine that each time you brake, a thin slice of metal is worn off your pads then you can start to understand why brake pads wear over time. A brake pad replacement is routine for us so it’s really quick and easy to do.

–  The weather can increase brake noises and cold temperatures are known to make them noisy, especially if it has been raining and your pads are wet. This can cause a layer of rust to form on the brake pads but don’t worry, as soon as you start driving and braking again, the thin rust will be removed.

–  If you are often driving with a car full of people or heavy loads then this will put more stress on your brakes. The heavier the load, the more effort it will take for the vehicle to stop. This isn’t an issue to worry about straight away but if you often drive with a car full you really should be getting your brakes checked more often than most.

–  Sometimes, you get bits of grit, dirt and small stones stuck in between the caliper and pad. As the brakes are applied the stone is squished onto the pad and can cause noise. Just like your eyes when an eyelash falls in, the brakes will push out the stone so the noise shouldn’t last for long.

Thudding or vibration felt when braking

It’s a common issue to feel vibration through the steering wheel when braking and it’s often referred to as brake shudder. It’s usually an issue with the brake discs.

–  It could be due to unevenly worn or DTV (disc thickness variation). When your brakes are applied, the two places of contact should be flat and even surfaces. If they aren’t then you are likely to feel the shudder coming through. This could be due to the calipers not working as expected, the rotors not being installed properly or the bedding in process not being done properly if new pads have been fitted

–  A build-up of uneven rust can appear on the hub face over time which means that you don’t have an even surface for the discs to be mounted onto. You can easily remove the rust with some sandpaper and a bit of WD40

Simon of CCM Fixing Brakes


Faulty ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System)

If your ABS is kicking in without it needing to, its an issue that needs to be looked into. ABS should only activate when the system notices a pause or slowdown in wheel rotation. It then kicks in to ‘pulse’ the brakes on and off to reduce the risk and improve the control of a skid.

–  The most common issue is due to the sensors becoming contaminated. This can either be from brake fluid, metal shavings or general debris.


Car pulling to one side when braking

As if your brakes failing wasn’t scary enough, it can also affect your steering and pull you over to one side.

–  This is usually down to one brake pad sticking or dragging on one side which can then pull you over to that side

–  It could also be an issue with your wheel cylinder or even a hydraulic fault. If your brakes are locking this will cause unnecessary friction which will cause your brakes to get extremely hot. You may then start to notice a nasty burning smell as well.

–  The brake hose could be clogged which is stopping the brake fluid moving freely so your brakes can’t properly activate.

Each of these issues are worth bringing your car in for review. The more information you can provide us about the problems you are having, the easier it is for us to diagnose. Most brake issues can be repaired within a couple of hours on the same day.

When Should I Get My Brakes Checked?

A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes looked over at least every six months. When you have your MOT, the tester will inspect your brakes and let you know if your pads are wearing thin. They can then usually let you know roughly how long you have left on your pads and estimate when they will need replacing.

You should also be prepared to have a brake fluid service every two years. If you have contaminated or not enough brake fluid, your brakes won’t be able to function. It’s as simple as that. We carry out a brake fluid test and report in each of our service levels, and a brake fluid change is included in the platinum service.

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