Have you ever had total brake failure while driving? Most of us haven’t, thanks to advanced technological fail-safes. However, the unlikely scenario remains a possibility. It is critical to understand how to react if your brakes fail. The split-second decision could save a life.
To assist you in preparing, we’ve created this guide, which includes advice on what to do if your brakes fail while driving, as well as tips on how to avoid brake failure in the first place.
How to bring a stalled car to a halt in the event of complete brake failure.
- Continuously press the brake pedal. This may help to slow the vehicle, but it will most likely alert passing vehicles that you’re attempting to slam on the brakes. Slowly apply pressure to the brakes if you notice brake pressure returning.
- Pull or apply your parking brake slowly and gently. It is the back wheels that will slow the car down because your parking brake is mechanical rather than hydraulic. In order to keep your vehicle from spinning out of control, do not apply the parking brake too rapidly or aggressively.
- Using the engine to slow the car down if your parking brake is broken is an option that can be used. Engine braking is the term for this. Taking your foot off the gas pedal can cause your vehicle to downshift if you have an automatic transmission. Allows you control the gear you’re in, so you can use it to downshift as necessary. Downshifting too quickly can cause your car to slip out of control. DO NOT do this.
- Make your way towards the region that will be the least dangerous for you, as well as other motorists and pedestrians who may be on the road. Avoiding harm to yourself and others should be your top priority. Look for a grass median, open field, or bushes to slow the vehicle down if you don’t have a safe place to pull over on the road.
- Unless you are completely stopped, do not turn off your engine. Driving without power steering is substantially more difficult when the car is turned off. When the steering wheel on some cars locks, you lose control of your direction.
- Never try to move the car after it has come to a halt in park with the emergency brake applied.
- Call 911 if you or anyone else is hurt, or if your car has sustained substantial damage. Call a tow truck if there were no injuries or damage.
In what ways may you reduce the likelihood of a brake failure?
It’s best to prevent brake failure than than fix it after the fact, for your own safety and the health of your vehicle.
The loss of braking pressure is the most common cause of brake failures. When a caliper is overextended due to thin brake pads and rotors, brake pressure is lost most frequently. It happens when you neglect to replace your brake pads for an extended period of time. For the most part, rotors should last longer than brake pads. Between 50,000 and 70,000 miles is an ideal range for rotor replacement.
The failure of the master cylinder is the second most common hydraulic problem. A defective master cylinder should be ruled out if you notice your brakes getting weaker and weaker over time.
A malfunctioning master cylinder can exhibit the following symptoms:
- The ABS (antilock brake system) light is on in your brake light.
- Your brake fluid line has a leak.
- Spongy or sticky brakes are a problem for you.
- Brake fluid pollution and damaged seals
- The brake pedal is sunk.
- Discrepancies in the wear of the brake pads
Braking failure can also be caused by leaks in the brake lines. Brake line leaks can be avoided if you keep an eye on your car’s maintenance.