Three Signs Your Brakes Are Overheating and What That Means

If you continue to drive your automobile when the brakes are overheating, the brakes could fail. When hot enough, brakes go into what’s called brake fade, and what this means is that the brake pads and rotors are not able to generate the friction they need to produce the kinetic energy that stops your car, SUV, or truck. We here at Midwest Auto Care suggest that you watch out for the following signs of overheating brakes. The sooner you stop driving the safer you remain.

Brake Pedal Sinks or Feels Soft

Humidity deposits water in some pretty strange places and one of those places is the brake fluid reservoir, where condensation can build up over time. If your brake fluid reservoir has too much water in it, the water will begin the boil the hotter it gets. This, naturally, produces steam, and when you step on your brake pedal, it will sink or feel spongy because the water in the brake fluid is too hot.

Smoking and/or Smelly Brakes

If your brake pads get too hot, which can happen if you’re riding them too hard, they will begin to smoke. You may also smell an unpleasant odor, which many drivers have said reminds them of burning carpet. If you see smoke coming from your wheels (or anywhere else on your vehicle), and/or if you smell burning carpet, rubber, or sulfur/rotten eggs, find a safe place to park and call for a tow.

Squealing Brakes

Riding the brakes can also make them squeal because the brake pads have become what we in the automotive service industry call “glazed” or smoothed down. When you ride the brakes, you create excessive friction that begins to overheat the brake pads. This will make them squeal and can also cause them to malfunction or fail. Take it easy on your brakes to prevent them from overheating.

Err on the Side of Caution

If you notice any of the signs above and believe your brakes are overheating, it’s best to stop driving your automobile until they cool down at a minimum. It’s even better to get towed to an auto service shop for a brake inspection. What it means when your brakes overheat is simple: There is something wrong with the brake system and if they get too hot, they will fail. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

To prevent your brakes from overheating, drive cautiously and take your foot off the brake pedal when you aren’t using it. Preventative maintenance also ensures the health of the system. Lake Station, IN, drivers can call Midwest Auto Care for brake inspections, services, and repairs.

Photo by AdrianHancu from Getty Images Canva Pro

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