Your brakes are vitally important for your vehicle, which is why they're checked thoroughly on every MOT test. When visiting us for an MOT or service you will normally be advised if any components are worn or need replacing, but things can happen between MOT tests causing the braking system to decrease its performance or even fail.

Common Braking System Problems

  • Spongy brakes, or the brake pedal depressing to the floor. This normally means the brake fluid needs checking, topping up or replacing. Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs water. When water enters the system it reduces the boiling point of the brake fluid, allowing some of it to turn to gas under heavy braking. Gases are easily compressed, leading to severely reduced braking performance when you least want it.
  • Squealing brakes. This is a normal sign that your brake pads require replacement.
  • Seized brakes. This often happens when vehicles are left alone for a period of several months, normally outdoors where the braking system components can rust. We can attend vehicles in the local area and recover them in for checking.

If you observe any of these problems, or any other abnormal behaviour with your brakes, we recommend booking your vehicle in as soon as possible to be checked.

Winter Driving Tips

  • Your brakes are only as good as the surface you're driving on. When it is safe to do so, you may find it helpful to press the brake pedal slightly more than normal from a low speed in an attempt to make the vehicle skid briefly. This allows you to gauge how much traction the road has, and how quickly you can expect to stop in icy conditions. Never try this in a situation that may cause any danger to yourself or others.
  • Many slightly up-market vehicles are equipped with traction control systems to help control skidding. These systems help, but are less effective in icy conditions.
  • Front wheel drive vehicles are better than rear wheel drive in snow and ice - think of it like trying to push (rear wheel drive) or pull (front wheel drive) a large awkward object over a slippery surface.
  • When you get in to a skid, the first thing to do is remove your foot from the accelerator. Shifting to neutral may also help, focus on where you want to go (not where the vehicle may be going), and steer very gently to get you back on course. If you have to use the brakes, do so very gently.

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