There are different mechanical problems that your car experiences over time, and one of the most common, but you must not overlook is when your car pulls to one side when braking. The fault is most likely in the brake system, and there are a number of issues that can cause this.
However, sometimes the fault is not in the braking system at all, also can be caused by a faulty tire or loose or worn suspension components. Whatever the reason, driving with a traction brake is dangerous, so here’s how you can pinpoint the source of the problem through a series of quick inspections and diagnostics.
Initial detection of the problem
To start, you will have to identify if the problem is in the front or rear wheels. Usually when the problem comes from one of the front brake assemblies, you will feel a strong pull on the steering wheel when you apply the brakes..
However, When the problem comes from one of the rear brake assemblies, you may not notice a pull unless you brake hard. Braking hard will cause one of the tires to skid and screech because it will lock up. Also, unusual wear on some of the tires will be noticeable, making it easy to tell where the problem is.
How can you spot potential problems and how to fix them?
1. Contaminated brake pads
Brake pads or brake shoe linings contaminated with fluid or grease will prevent the brake assembly from working properly on that side of the system. Check for suspect front or rear brake assemblies by safely raising and supporting the vehicle on jack stands.
Then remove the wheel-tyre assembly and check the brake pad and rotor (front brakes), or shoes and drum surface (rear brakes), for a film of grease or oil or other foreign matter. You may need to find the source of the leak or contamination. Once the problem is detected, make the repairs and replace the pads or linings as necessary.
2. Uneven brake wear
Brake pads and rotors should wear gradually and at the same rate on each side, just as brake shoes and drums should brake gradually and at the same rate, however, brake system problems can cause the brake assembly to of one wheel suffers excessive wear compared to the opposite wheel assembly, causing a pull brake condition.
Inspect the front or rear wheel assemblies for uneven wear. Excessive wear on a brake pad or rotor on one side can be a sign of brake system problems that need to be investigated further. Then check the operation of the brakes to find and correct the problem. If you have uneven wear on your brake pads, shoes, rotors or drums, check for a stuck caliper piston, frozen wheel cylinder piston, loose or stuck mounting hardware, loose or stuck operating mechanism , and that there is correct lubrication of the caliper pin and slide.
3. Brake fluid leak
A leaking caliper piston or wheel cylinder will prevent the brake assembly from working properly and cause a pull brake condition.
4. Rear brake adjuster
A rear wheel brake assembly can also fail when the brake slack adjuster freezes or fails. Brake shoe slack adjusters must maintain the correct distance between the brake shoe lining and the drum as the lining wears. Most vehicles use a star wheel (screw) type mechanism for the adjuster, while some modern vehicles may use a latch adjuster type mechanism.
Safely raises and secures the vehicle on a jack stand. Remove the wheel and drum. Check that the adjuster moves freely. Consult the repair manual for your particular vehicle model to repair or replace the adjuster, if necessary.
5. Defective tires
If you haven’t found the source of the pull while braking, a quick tire inspection can save you time and possibly money.
Problems can arise with the layers or belts that make up the inner body of the tire. Although it’s hard to tell if a tire has internal problems just by doing a visual inspection, you can swap a front tire for a rear tire and see if the traction brake problem goes away. If so, the problem is most likely with the tire.
After ruling out brake and tire issues, check the suspension
This way you can check the most common problems that lead to your car doing traction braking before you decide to send it to the shop. However, If despite carrying out the previous inspections you have not had a good diagnosis, you should look for loose or worn suspension parts that may be causing the problem.such as damaged bushings or loose or worn parts in a lower control arm, tie rod, ball joint, strut rod, or torsion bar, depending on the particular model.
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