Common signs of brake problems

The braking system in your vehicle is an integral part of keeping your car on the road. Without brakes, things would get very unsafe, fast! That’s why it’s essential to be vigilant about common brake problems, so you can act quickly. 

Natrad is here to help. We’ll explain the typical signs of a problem with your brakes, how to spot them and what to do about it. Most of the time you will just need routine maintenance as many parts in your car are made to wear –  but it doesn’t hurt to know as much as possible, in case there is something more sinister as play. Read below for our key indicators and overview of the braking system


Need new brakes? Don’t stress, Natrad has got you covered with a range of quality braking system parts from Mintex and Nisshinbo.

Braking system overview

Did you know your braking system is made up of various components? It’s not as simple as pressing the pedal and stopping. Most modern cars make use of friction which means the system will include parts like: 


  • Brake pads (friction material) 
  • Brake fluid and brake lines
  • Brake discs or brake rotors 
  • Brake drums/drum brakes 
  • Brake shoes (friction material) 
  • Brake calliper assembly
  • Master cylinder 
  • Piston
  • Brake pedal  


Does this seem like a long list? This is just an overview, there is so much more going on behind the scenes. That is why it’s important to maintain your vehicle so that the components stay in good condition and prevent any untimely failures. 


As a part of this, some elements of the brake system are designed to wear over time. Read more to learn about what may need replacing. 


Brake pads grinding noise

Brake pads are the biggest wearing part in the brake system and will be what you replace most often. Many vehicles incorporate a wear indicator, which will alert you that the brake pad needs to be switched. You might hear a squealing or grinding sound, which is usually the disc pressing against metal rather than the soft friction material on the pad. 


This is completely normal and just a sign that you should get your brake pads checked and replaced as soon as you can. However, sometimes this noise can indicate a more serious problem. Meaning the potentially unusual wearing of the brake disc or drum, or damage to a bearing somewhere. If you hear this noise, it’s a good idea to book in at your nearest mechanic to inspect your brakes as soon as possible just to ensure. Luckily, brake pads are an affordable expense and an easy fix. 


Faulty master cylinder 

The master cylinder is a crucial part of the system but is usually well hidden under the hood. If the master cylinder fails it could be due to a lack of internal fluid, brake fluid leakage or contamination. 

If you notice any external brake fluid leakage, for example, on your brake pedal or on the ground under your car – it’s time to act quickly. Leaving your master cylinder unchecked could lead to unsafe braking and avoidable incidents. 


Brake warning light 

Many modern cars have a brake warning light, which turns on when there is an issue in the system. Most commonly, this indicates wear on the brake pads and that it is time to replace them, but occasionally, there might be a bigger problem. 

The warning brake light is typically found on your dashboard and might have a ‘braking’ symbol. If you’re unsure where your brake light is or that you have one, check your owner’s manual to locate it. The manual should also show you what symbol to look for. 

It’s important to be aware of the light in the instance there is serious brake failure. While it is unlikely that your brakes will fail completely, it is still worthwhile knowing the signs early on. 

Soft brake pedal 

Another good way to tell if your brakes are working properly is the pedal feel. If it is soft, spongy or the pedal pushes all the way down there is something seriously wrong. You may have a brake fluid leak, moisture in the system or master cylinder failure. This problem requires immediate attention, so be sure to call your mechanic as soon as you notice. 


Next steps for your car’s braking system 

If you notice any of the aforementioned brake issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. The friendly team at Natrad have workshops nationwide and are here to help. We have a range of quality brake system parts that are covered by our nationwide warranty and won’t void your new car warranty – just call us today.