The use of a handbrake often damages your car

Car: Seven signs that the brakes will soon be on strike

Maintaining and repairing the brake properly - this is only for professionals. But every driver can tell that something is wrong with the brakes. Because there are a few unmistakable clues.

Those who regularly bring their car to the workshop for inspection can save themselves some nasty surprises. But wear and tear or damage do not stick to appointments in the calendar. You should therefore check everything that serves your safety - such as the steering, lights and tires - at greater intervals. Do you hear suspicious noises? Do you feel unusual vibrations while driving? Or do you notice changes in the function? Particular attention should be paid to the brakes.

You need to watch out for these warning signs

  • Do you hear a loud squeaking noise when braking? Then the brake pads should be worn out. This increases the braking distance and can lead to problems with the brake discs or brake drums. Make sure you have the pads replaced in good time.
  • Vibrations also strongly indicate problems with the brakes: Small components can be worn out and must be replaced.
  • If the pressure point of the brake pedal changes, things can get really dangerous. If you do not visit a workshop, you risk your own safety and that of other road users. In addition, other components can break, which can result in high follow-up costs. This damage is noticeable at the latest during the main inspection and must then be repaired anyway. So it is also financially worthwhile to prevent these problems.
  • A short safety check on the stationary car shows whether the brakes are working properly. To do this, step on the brake pedal and check the free travel at which the brake does not react. It shouldn't be longer than two to three centimeters.
  • Is the brake pedal spongy and there are bubbles in the brake fluid (in a reservoir in the engine compartment)? The brake system could then be filled with air and must be bled. Only trained hands should do this work. The costs in the workshop are between 50 and 120 euros.
  • Depress the brake pedal for 30 seconds. If it can be pushed through almost to the ground without resistance, the braking system may be leaking: brake fluid is leaking, the braking force is not being sufficiently transmitted to the brakes. In this case, drive slowly (a third less than the permitted speed) and go straight to the nearest workshop. If you can press the pedal all the way down, have the vehicle towed. The causes for this can be very different, so the repair costs also fluctuate a lot.

Replace black brake fluid

The color of the brake fluid also indicates how hard the brakes can still grip. Ideally, the liquid should be honey to amber in color. If the color is dark or even black, the liquid must be replaced. Be sure to visit a workshop for this.

Full braking against rust on the brake discs

Corrosion on the brake discs is completely normal and not necessarily a safety problem, as the rust is regularly slowed down again. However, above all on the brakes on the front axle, since the rear brake discs are much less stressed when braking carefully.

Work on the brake system: Only a specialist should do it. (Source: da-kuk / Getty Images)

However, if so-called rust pimples or rust scars have already formed here, you should visit a workshop. To prevent this corrosion, brake hard at regular, larger intervals. Make sure, however, that you do not endanger other road users under any circumstances. An empty parking lot, for example, is well suited for this.

When to change the brake pad and disc

When parts of the brakes need to be replaced does not depend on the mileage, but rather on driving style, load or defects. Regular checks are therefore important. Warning signals are the decrease in the braking effect, noises such as squeaking or grinding, and increasing free travel of the brake pedal.

Repairing damage early on: If you postpone repairs, you risk unnecessary and expensive consequential damage. (Source: gilaxia / Getty Images)

Repairing or replacing the brake yourself?

Brakes, steering or airbags and many other components on the car - they are all absolutely relevant to safety. Changes should therefore only be carried out by a professional. You shouldn't do more than topping up the brake fluid, provided everything is otherwise in order.