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What to Do if Car Brakes Fail? Tips that Help you Survive  

  • Car Care Tips
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 6 minutes

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Imagine driving alone or with your family; your car brakes fail suddenly. Why did this happen, and what can you do about it? 

Before panicking and making the situation worse, stay calm! This article will help you stay prepared to face such an occurrence in the future and has answers to all your questions. So next time you or anyone you know comes across the situation, you can be the helpmate.  

car brakes failing

Signs of brake failure  

These can be some of the common reasons why your car brakes fail often:  

Soft brake pedals  

One of the main signs of car brake failure is soft brake pedals. When you try braking hard and don’t feel the pressure, understand that your brakes are no longer working. This problem happens when there is air jammed in the brake lines. Jammed brakes are a serious issue, and you must take serious inspection.  

Noises while braking  

Your car brakes fail when the brake pads or motors aren’t working. Since these parts keep the brake fluids circulating, so they may wear out over time. So, stop the car immediately; when you notice hissing or screeching, stop the vehicle immediately. Next, find a mechanic nearby and get assistance in resolving this issue.  

Steering wheel vibrations  

A third way to understand when exactly the brakes fail is through the steering wheel vibrations. If you notice your uneven steering wheel and cannot maintain a balance, the problem is with the rotors. Therefore, always keep a check on the sounds and seek help as soon as you can.  

Blinking warning lights  

With warning lights, it becomes easier to identify car brake failure. Your dashboard indicates a warning sign, and the lights start blinking, meaning you must stop the car immediately. Also, always pay attention to your warning lights and investigate the issue sooner.  

Why do car brakes fail?   

Car brakes fail due to many reasons. Here’s why it mostly happens:  

Driver’s neglect  

Reckless driving can cause significant damage to your car. As a responsible driver, you must go for regular car inspections. Though every car manufacturer guarantees the long-term usage of their makes and models, your car may face wear and tear over time.   

This eventual damage may happen due to the driver’s neglect or the quality of the accessories. Making wise use of brakes and being gentle can reduce frequent brake failures.  

Brake fluid leakage  

Brake fluid leakage is another reason why your car brakes fail suddenly. If you face oil or brake fluid leakage, take your car to a mechanic immediately. On arriving at the mechanics, go for an inspection and see if there is a leak or brake fluid contamination. If there is a problem, resolve it at the earliest.  

Damaged rotor disc  

Rotor discs are metal discs inside the car wheels. Frequent braking can damage the rotor discs and affect the braking. Abrupt braking, eventual loss of quality in brakes, and putting too much pressure on the brakes can degrade the disc quality relatively quickly. Therefore, take your car for a regular inspection to identify the disc issues promptly.  

Excess fluid leakage  

Fluid leakage is one of the serious issues which you must take care of without any delay. Hydraulic fluid or oil leakage occurs when fluid contamination or excess fluid is circulating inside the brake motors. Again, to prevent the issue from worsening, take your car to a mechanic immediately.  


Overload often makes driving strenuous, so you’ll have to brake more often. As a result, frequent braking degrades the quality of brakes. Hence, make sure to carry only the right amount of load. Go thoroughly through your car’s user manual to understand and manage your car’s loading capacity.  

Tips for surviving a brake failure  

Here are some quick tips for surviving a brake failure:  

  • First of all, stay calm and analyze the situation.  
  • Switch on the hazard light to get immediate assistance in repairing the brakes.  
  • Similarly, try applying the brakes a few more times.  
  • You may also slow down on the accelerator and downshift the gears.  
  • Use handbrakes immediately.  
  • Park your vehicle at a safe place off the road.  
  • Put the hazard lights on till help arrives.  
  • Let your mechanic check the quality of the brakes and help you solve the failure.  

Ways to maintain your car brakes  

Here are some tips that may save you from a car brake failure in the future:  

  • Know how to control your speeds: Following traffic rules while driving is one of the best practices. Even then, don’t apply your car brakes abruptly. Always slow down, and then use your brakes.  
  • Please don’t be too harsh while braking: It is essential to understand that a bit of pressure on your brakes makes them work well. So, apply the right amount of pressure next time to keep using your brakes longer.   
  • Don’t use brakes for too long (if you’re driving an automatic car): Keeping your foot resting on the brakes can damage it quickly. Unnecessary use of brakes can damage its quality quite easily.  
  • Don’t drive with heavy loads: Driving with heavy loads may make moving challenging. The heavier your car is, the more difficult it is to apply brakes.   
  • Go for a car inspection regularly: Going for a car inspection can eliminate frequent brake failure or similar issues.  

How to prevent brake failure in future  

If you don’t want your car brakes to fail in the future, here’s what you should do:  

  • Confirm the braking quality regularly: Check the quality of the brakes every time you drive. If they feel soft, take your car for an inspection immediately.  
  • Go for regular car service: Taking your car for service makes identifying any troubles you face while driving easier.  
  • Try not to apply brakes in hotter weather: Braking frequently can lead to overheating.  
  • Use parking brakes for more prolonged use: A parking brake, also known as an emergency brake, keeps your car safe and prevents it from rolling away. Hence, if your car brakes fail, use the parking brakes instead.  

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