No, it is not safe to drive when your brakes are overheating. It’s also not safe to drive when your car, truck, or SUV is overheating. An overheated brake system can eventually fail, especially if the brakes have overheated to a point at which they are smoking. If your brakes begin to overheat, head straight to Accurate Auto after you’ve stopped to cool them down. If they are overheating extensively, stop and call for a tow truck to bring you in. It’s not worth the risk of losing your brakes.
How Brakes Overheat
Your brake systems uses friction to stop your automobile. As you know, friction generates heat. Too much heat will overheat the brakes. In fact, too much heat can overheat the brakes to the point that the brake fluid begins to boil. Once the brakes are that hot they will not work. Depending on the condition of your brake system, something as simple as stop-and-go traffic can cause them to overheat.
Overheated Brake Signs
There are signs that will tell you that your brakes are getting too hot. Your brakes are overheating if you notice any of the following things:
- When you depress your brake pedal, it feels soft and sinks lower than normal. Air and water mix with your brake fluid as the fluid ages. Hot brake fluid turns the air and water into steam, which, in turn, reduces the fluid’s effectiveness and makes your brake pedal feel “spongy.”
- If your brakes smoke or you notice a burning smell when you apply your brakes, they are too hot. Think about a time when you’ve had to really slam on your brakes. You saw smoke, correct? If your brakes are overheating, you will see smoke or smell something hot each time you use them. Stop and call for a tow.
- Overheating brakes will also squeal each time you use them. If you drive aggressively with your foot on the brake pedal at all times, you create a situation automotive professionals call “glazing.” This means your brake pads are wearing down prematurely by your aggressive driving and losing friction.
Any of these signs spell trouble, so don’t ignore them. Remember, overheated brakes can fail, which will leave you in a very dangerous situation. Pull over, call for a tow, and get your brakes fixed.
Accurate Auto is located in Beaverton, Oswego, and Hillsboro, OR.