6 Common Car Brake Problems

Wheel showing brake caliper

The brakes in your vehicle are a crucial component and paramount to the safety of the driver, other motorists, and pedestrians. During your annual MOT, car brakes are thoroughly checked. If the brakes are not in safe order, then your car will fail its MOT. If the vehicle passes its MOT but there are signs of wear on the brake discs or pads, an advisory will be issued for a recommended replacement. This system generally works well to ensure that UK motorists are kept safe. However, an MOT is an annual inspection and sometimes problems can develop throughout the year within the brake’s components before its MOT. Brake parts have a life span and are subject to wear and tear, much the same as the rest of the vehicle.

There are several signs, however, which provide an indication that there may be an issue with the brakes and should never be ignored. These include:

Unusual Sounds

Squeaking or Squealing

Any type of high-pitched squealing or squeaking sound which presents when the vehicle is in motion is usually an indication that the brake pads are severely worn. The sound is created by a built-in brake wear indicator.

Grinding Sounds

A grinding sound is also commonly associated with worn brake pads – if the pads are severely worn, the grinding may be a result of the brake pad lining coming into contact with the disc. Rarely, grinding can be caused by some gravel, or a rock caught in the calliper unit.

Any unusual sounds should be checked immediately at a garage, as they are typically an indication that the brakes need attention.


A different or sharp smell that appears after braking should be investigated immediately. It may be a sign that the brakes or the clutch have overheated - this requires immediate attention.

Pulling to One Side

If during braking, the car pulls to one side, this is typically a sign that the braking system is not evenly balanced.

Juddering or Pulsating

If the vehicle appears to be juddering, this may come from a warped brake disc. Another indication of a warped brake disc is pulsating when the brake pedal is applied. If juddering or pulsating occurs, this should be checked at your local garage.

Soft Brake Pedal

If the brake pedal feels soft or spongey, this may be an indication that there is a problem with the brake fluid. This may because it needs replacing, or because it has deteriorated - this can cause overheating to the engine.

A difference in resistance to the brake pedal may also be an indication that there is air or moisture in the system or an issue with the master cylinder.

Longmynd Service Station

We offer all makes servicing as well as a collection and delivery. Our services include the following:

  • Brakes, suspension, and general repairs
  • Air conditioning service and repair
  • Tyres exhausts and batteries
  • Electronic diagnostics
  • Clutch and timing belt changes
  • Wheel alignment and tracking
  • Accident repair, bodywork, and paint refinishing

Longmynd Service Station is an accredited Bosch Car Service Centre, we receive regular audits which ensure we are meeting the highest standards within the automotive industry and that all of our staff are fully trained through the Bosch Technical Training Program. For more information on our services, get in touch today.