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How Can I Tell if My Car’s Brakes Are Overheating?

Brakes that are overheating become dangerous hazards. If your vehicle’s brakes get too hot, you won’t be able to stop your automobile because the brakes will fail. How can you tell if your car’s brakes are overheating? Del Hatt Automotive lists three signs below and recommends that you pull over to safety right away rather than continuing to drive. If you keep moving along with brakes that are too hot, again, they may fail and you won’t be able to stop your car, truck, or utility vehicle.

Hot Brakes Will Start to Squeal

When your car’s brakes start to heat up beyond their normal operating temperatures, they will begin to squeal. What causes the squealing is a phenomenon called “glazing.” Glazing means that the brake pads and rotors, the two parts that press together to slow down and stop your car, have smoothed out and, as such, cannot generate the friction needed to stop. The smooth surfaces squeal as they press together.

Hot Brakes Will Also Smell

Aside from squealing, you will also smell your brakes overheating. The smell of glazed brake pads mimics that of burning carpet or clothing. The hotter the car’s brakes get, however, the hotter the brake fluid gets, and boiling brake fluid smells like burning chemicals. In some cases, your brakes might also smell like burning rubber. No matter the odor, the brakes are getting dangerously hot if you can smell them each time you use them.

Super-Hot Car’s Brakes Will Smoke

If your brakes are reaching their temperature threshold, i.e., they’re about to fail, you might also see them smoke. This is a definite sign that your brakes are way too hot and if you continue to drive, you run the risk of causing an accident when you lose braking power. Even if your brakes aren’t smoking yet, the two signs above should trigger you to find a safe place to park and allow your brakes to cool down before you keep going.

If your brakes heat up again right away when you continue to drive, pull over and call for roadside assistance. Brakes that overheat constantly have something wrong with them. You can also make your brakes overheat if you ride them – keep your foot on the brake pedal even when you’re driving – or if you are in a stressful driving situation to them such as driving down a long and steep hill or moving in stop-and-go traffic.

Del Hatt Automotive in Poughkeepsie, NY, can inspect your brake system if you suspect the brakes are overheating. Call us today to set up an appointment that works well with your schedule.

Photo by Norasit Kaewsai from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro
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