5 signs that your brakes need attention

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Your car’s brakes are one of the most important aspects of safe driving. At the moment, most braking issues are due to vehicles being stood for a number of months which is due to corrosion to the brake discs. Another common issue is seized parking brakes, especially vehicles with rear drum brakes or drum parking brakes.

Maintaining your brakes is critical to staying safe on the road so it’s important to know the signs when your car might need new brake pads, shoes, drums or calipers.

  1. Brake system warning lights appear on the dashboard
    A number of vehicles have sensors on the rear brake calipers that illuminate the brake pad warning light when the pads (or discs) are coming to the end of their service life. It could also mean brake fluid is low. If the brake light turns on, always get a professional to check your brakes and recommend next steps.
  2. Brake Noise When Stopping
    Noise when braking is common, and it can often mean that your brakes are dirty or that your brake pads are worn down. However, if you hear a loud squeak or a scraping sound then it’s probably because your brake pads or shoes have worn down. If this is the case you should get it inspected by a mechanic urgently as it can affect your ability to stop safely.
  3. The Pedal Feels Soft When Braking
    This is often caused by a lack of braking pressure. You’ll need to press the brake pedal further to stop the vehicle which means it will take longer to come to a halt. This implies there is an issue with the brake hydraulic system so be sure to get a mechanic to check this out for you.
  4. The Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking
    A shaking steering wheel is usually a sign of a warped brake disc. Often the issue can be fixed by having the brake discs and pads replaced, but always check with a professional first.
  5. The Car Pulls To One Side
    This can happen due to a number of issues including damaged brake linings, fluid contamination, failing wheel cylinder, seized brake caliper or even a failed suspension component. In this case, a braking system inspection would be required to identify and fix the problem.

If you’re having trouble with your brakes, or if you are not sure what is wrong with your car, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details.

Alternatively, to place a booking head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a contact-free repair at your choice of time and date.

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50% of Used Cars Fail at Least One Category During a Pre-Purchase Inspection

car diganostics

We have tapped into our pre-purchase inspection data to reveal that 50% of used cars will score poorly in at least one category during a pre-purchase inspection.

Pre-purchase inspections tend to be broken down into several categories which will analyse the working condition of all aspects on a used car. ClickMechanic’s is broken down into twelve categories to include all necessary checks such as the electrics, brakes and the handling of the vehicle. By using our data from the last 2,000 inspections, we have determined which areas often cause the most trouble for motorists looking to buy.

In fact, looking at each category individually, the electricals/controls as well as the wheels and tyres are the most likely to cause an issue with 23% of used cars scoring poorly in these areas during inspection. This is followed by the body exterior with 18% along with the road test and engine compartment categories equally with 17%. After which, the suspension and brakes appear to cause the most problems; 12% of cars will score poorly on inspection of the front suspension, brakes and steering and 11% will do the same for the rear suspension and brakes.

Worn tyre

The less likely areas to need addressing after an inspection include the underside condition of the car, with 8% of cars facing issues in this region, as well as the clutch and transmission with 5%. Mechanics will also find faults with the exhaust system in 3% of used cars during a pre-purchase inspection as well as problems with the brake hydraulics and fuel system in 2% of used vehicles.

Given this, pre-purchase inspections tend to reveal more wear and tear in the electrics and the physical state of the car, such as the wheels and exterior, than the actual handling of the car. This includes faults with the clutch, which, despite being one of the most common repairs for every motorist, is not a very common issue to face during a pre-purchase inspection. This suggests that the seller is more likely to repair any mechanical handling issues rather than any faulty electrical components such as the heating or lights, or the wheels themselves. However, it is worrying to see that 13% of cars will score poorly in at least one category involving the brakes.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic said: “Any motorist looking to buy a used car should take care to ensure that it is in full working order – no one wants a surprisingly expensive repair bill, not to mention the importance of safety! A pre-purchase inspection should always be conducted and you should remember to take the additional costs into account before buying the vehicle.”

Faulty Brakes: The Most Common Vehicle Defect in Road Accidents

Car crash

We have analysed the latest figures from the Department for Transport and can reveal that faulty brakes are the number one vehicle defect to contribute to 2016’s road accidents. However, looking just at cars, flawed tyres are in fact the most common defect to cause an incident.

With a total of 446 incidents, faulty tyres are the primary vehicle defect and contributing factor to car accidents in 2016. This is followed by defective brakes with 365 incidents, imperfect steering or suspension with 180 accidents and overloaded vehicles with 54 incidents. Defective lights or indicators (46 accidents) and mirrors (8 incidents) are less common and feature at the bottom of the table.

Looking at all recorded vehicles in road accidents, damaged brakes are more likely to cause an incident. This is because other vehicles such as motorbikes, buses and particularly bicycles, have recorded more issues with brakes than tyres. However, interestingly all vehicles in the UK are much more likely to have an incident involving defective tyres on the motorway, rather than as a result of imperfect brakes (85 incidents versus 17). This is because under inflated tyres will overheat quickly, particularly at high speeds, and can consequently ‘blow out’ and cause an accident. Whereas on A Roads, faulty brakes assume the top spot once again, as drivers brake more regularly.

Broken tyre

Focusing on location, the South East has the highest number of accidents caused by vehicle defects, with 297 incidents. In contrast, the North East appears to take better care of their vehicles as only 46 vehicle defect related road accidents are recorded. Looking at our capital, defective brakes (85 incidents) are much more likely to cause an issue than faulty tyres (34 incidents); the constant braking and lower speeds when driving in London perhaps being the greatest influence to this. The only two regions in which defective tyres are significantly more likely to cause an incident than faulty brakes are Scotland and the East Midlands.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Tyres and brakes control the movement of the car and so can easily cause a collision if they’re not in proper working condition. Being the top two occurring vehicle defects in 2016 emphasises that some UK drivers are not servicing their car regularly, or conducting simple checks, such as measuring the air pressure in the tyres. All drivers should follow their manufacturer’s recommended schedule and ensure that any anomalies are assessed by a professional as soon as possible. Doing so severely reduces the likelihood of these defects and keeps both yourself and other drivers safe on the road.”