Sights and Sounds that Indicate Problems With a Hydraulic Braking System

There are five types of automotive braking systems. These systems are electromagnetic, friction, hydraulic, pumping, and servo. We will be focusing on indicators of problems within a hydraulic braking system. When you apply your brakes the force exerted by your foot is increased by hydraulics. Applying the brakes forces brake fluid through the brake lines. The fluid in the brake lines activate pistons attached to the calipers. The caliper piston (slave piston) causes the brake pads to exert pressure on a disc or drum. This action creates friction slowing or stopping the vehicle. 

Soft Brakes 

You are driving the Evergreen State when your brakes start to feel spongy. Soft brakes are an indication that hydraulic pressure is being lost to a leak in the braking system. A rupture in a brake line is one possible cause. Before you start searching for any hydraulic hoses tacoma wa explore these possibilities. 

The master cylinder is usually located on the firewall. Inspect the outside of the cylinder for signs of brake fluid. Also, check the fluid level within the master cylinder. Add brake fluid if necessary and bring the pressure back up by pumping the brakes. 

A seal going bad is a common cause of brake leaks. If there is a leak where the lines meet the caliper you will find fluid on the back of one or more of your wheels. System leaks or any issue with your brakes are not to be ignored. 


If grinding occurs when the brakes are applied the car should be parked until the problem is fixed. During slowing or stopping brake pads clamp onto the brake rotors or push out on the brake drums. When the brake pads are completely worn out the pad’s metal backing begins rubbing against the brake rotor or brake drum. Besides being dangerous driving when the brakes are metal to metal will create the added expense of replacing rotors or drums. 


Inexpensive poorly made brake pads that constantly rub against the rotors are one source of squeaking brakes. Sometimes, brakes squeak by design. Brake pads may contain a wear indicator that squeaks when it makes contact with the rotor or drum. That squeak means it is time to replace your brake pads. 


Thumping noise in the brakes is most likely attributable to warped brake drums. Brakes work on friction and friction generates heat. Brake drums are metal and when metal cools too rapidly it warps. Cold water from puddles splashing onto the brake drum can cause warpage. 

Brake Over Heating 

When brakes become overheated they can start to smoke. Overheating can be the result of heat damage to the pads or fluid leaking onto the pads. Fluid on the pads creates a residue that that reduces friction between the pad and caliper. To safely cool down overheated brakes spend five minutes driving the car slowly enough that the car can coast to stop.

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