Brakes / Clutches

Symptoms of Bad Brakes

Failed brakes can be a disaster, potentially leading to a crash. Fortunately, though, your car will warn you in numerous ways when your brakes are starting to go. Because brake issues can worsen quickly, it is imperative that you have your brakes checked as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms of bad brakes.

Warning Light
Modern cars have dashboard warning lights to alert you to potential problems. However, these are not standardized between different manufacturers, so it is important to check your owner’s manual to understand exactly what your car is trying to tell you. Any illuminated light is indicative of an issue that must be checked out, though, so see your mechanic whenever a light comes on.

In general, though, you can often narrow the problem by exactly what is happening with your dashboard lights. Separate lights should illuminate for the parking brake and the hydraulic brakes when you turn on the car, and they should go off quickly. If the parking brake light stays on, your parking brake is engaged. You might have simply forgotten to release it, or it might be stuck. If your hydraulic brakes light comes and goes, your brake fluid may be low. If it stays on, there is a persistent problem with your brakes that must be addressed.

Brake Noises
Grinding sounds from your brakes are always a problem. It could simply be that something such as a rock is stuck in the caliper, so find a safe place to safely move your car back and forth to dislodge any foreign objects. If this doesn’t solve the problem, though, then your brake pads or rotors are extremely worn down, resulting in contact between the rotor disc and the brake caliper. This is a serious issue that must be seen about right away.

Spongy Brake Pedal
Your brake pedal should feel firm to the touch. If it is soft or spongy, there is most likely air in the brake line. Other possibilities include bad calipers or worn out cylinders. Either way, driving with a spongy brake pedal can be dangerous. Get your brakes checked immediately.

Visual Inspection
Dirty or watery brake fluid can lead to clogging and rust, both of which can wreak havoc on your brake lines. Have your brake fluid replaced every 30,000 miles or according to your owner’s manual, and have it checked whenever your car is in for regular maintenance.

You can also visually inspect your brake pads. Look through the spokes of each wheel, and you will see the brake pad material. If less than ¼ inch is visible, your brake pads need to be replaced.

Pulling When Braking 
There are many possible causes for a vehicle pulling to the left or right, but the braking system must be considered as a possibility. Check the brake pads on both sides. If one is more worn than the other, your issue is likely a stuck caliper. Also take a look at the rubber hoses that are attached to the calipers. If one collapses, its caliper will move unevenly compared to the others, resulting in a definite pull.

Brake issues are always serious, so it is important to have them taken care of right away. Fortunately, brake problems are easy to fix. Always have your brakes inspected as part of your regular maintenance, and follow your auto technician’s advice.

If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try SouthgateTyre Automotive instead. Give us a call at Tel: 0208 361 6400 for all of your automotive needs!

Automotive Clutch Repairs

When the clutch pedal becomes hard to push most people call it “stiff”. The causes are few and almost all of them require the transmission to be removed from the vehicle to provide access for service. Following is a list of causes for a “stiff” clutch pedal feel.

Common Causes of a Stiff Clutch
1. Clutch pressure plate failure.
2. Clutch release bearing lubrication problems (sometime this causes damage to the front of the transmission)
3. Certain designs of clutch hydraulic parts (slave cylinder) can fail causing a stiff clutch pedal feel. (there are some designs that do not require transmission removal for service)
4. Most in-frequently the clutch pedal and its related mechanisms can develop problems that would make for a stiff pedal feel. (In this case the transmission would not be removed to correct the problem)

Symptoms of Clutch Problems
• Stiff clutch pedal
• Hard to engage gears or gears grind – Hard to shift – Needs to be diagnosed.
• Slipping – feels like the engine is down on power – revs up when you push on the throttle pedal but forward drive is limited – sort of feels like you are on ice and cannot get traction.
• Chatter – this is when the car sort of jerks as you bring the clutch pedal up from the floor when it’s time to go.
• Clutch pedal is mushy – Hydraulic system problems.
• Clutch pedal sticks near the floor – Needs to be diagnosed – several possible causes.

The most important thing you can do when you are having clutch problems is to have the SouthgateTyre crew diagnose the issues.
We are very good at what we do and therefore will correctly guide you through the process to a vehicle that performs as it should.