Any problem with your car's braking system can be frightening. You rely on your brakes to help you stop safely, and many people picture catastrophic failures when thinking about major issues with the system. While your brakes can fail dramatically, modern vehicles include enough redundancies that these situations are rare, especially if you don't ignore the early warning signs of failure.
Unfortunately, some of these warning signs can be more subtle than you might expect, and they may not even initially point to a problem with your brakes. Brake hoses are one potentially serious (and common) failure point many ignore. If you don't know how to tell if your brake hoses are bad, check out these three warnings that you may have a collapsed brake hose.
1. Excessive Vibrations and Pulling
When a brake hose collapses, it prevents fluid from flowing freely into your calipers. The movement of hydraulic brake fluid through your braking system allows the calipers to compress and release the brake pads. In many cases, this obstruction won't stop your brake pads from compressing but will instead prevent them from releasing.
As a result, your brakes will always remain clamped to the rotors. This constant friction can cause numerous symptoms, including vibrations at speed. You may also notice your car pulling to one side since the stuck tire cannot rotate as freely as the tire on the other side. These symptoms may be more noticeable when a front brake hose collapses.
2. Red Hot Wheels
If you don't have a physics background, the way your brakes work may seem surprising. Ultimately, the role of your brakes is to convert one type of energy into another. When you press the accelerator, your engine converts the stored energy in your fuel into kinetic energy. However, that kinetic energy doesn't simply disappear when you step on the brakes.
The friction your brake pads create converts your car's kinetic energy into heat that normally dissipates rapidly into the surrounding environment. However, a collapsed brake hose will cause your brakes to generate excessive heat due to constant braking. Since this heat has nowhere to go, it can make the affected wheel dangerously hot.
3. Uneven Brake Dust Generation
The amount of brake dust your car generates will depend heavily on your brake usage and the types of brake pads you install. Some pads may generate a lot of dust, while others may generate very little. There's no "normal" amount, but you should expect a roughly even amount of brake dust between wheels on the same axle.
If you notice a single wheel on your car seems much dirtier than the others, you should treat it as a flashing red warning sign, especially if you notice any other symptoms. Just as a collapsed hose can result in more heat, it also produces more brake pad wear. This excessive wear inevitably generates substantially more dust, leaving you with this telltale symptom of a faulty brake hose.
Contact a local brake repair shop to learn more.Share