What to do if Your Brakes Fail

Posted on Jul 1, 2019

New brakes, rotors, and brake pads can be costly. However, there will be much more expensive repairs if you ignore the warning signs of failing brakes and have an accident when they go out. 

If you do have a brake failure while driving, it’s important to know what is happening and what to do. When your brakes fail, it’s usually because you’ve lost a considerable volume of brake fluid, or your brake pads are very worn down. 

When you press the brake pedal on your car, it pressurizes the fluid in your brake line, transferring force to the brake pads, which pushes them to compress against your car’s wheel. The resistance that follows is what brings you to an easy stop. 

If you are driving and it feels like your brakes are failing, the most important first step is to not panic. Though it might be your first instinct, don’t turn your vehicle off — doing this while the car is moving can cause your steering wheel to lock. Luckily, ycan can use the tips below to avert an accident, decelerate your car, and come to a safe halt.


Steps to Take if Your Brakes Fail

  1. Remove your foot from the gas.
  2. Try pumping your brakes quickly and firmly. If you have ABS, press and hold the brake pedal to the car floor.
  3. Shift into a lower gear in a manual vehicle.
  4. Pull up the emergency brake and turn on your hazard lights.
  5. If you’re next to a guardrail, use it to slow down by gently rubbing against it.
  6. Find an open shoulder, patch of grass, or safe open space to stop on.


After you’ve decelerated your car, it’s vital to get your car out of traffic to decrease your chances of an accident. Even if you slowed down off the road, it can be a good idea to keep the engine running until you’re at a complete stop.

Even if it seems like the brakes are working normally after restarting your car, have them inspected immediately by an auto mechanic before you attempt driving your vehicle again. Have your car towed to a Santa Fe auto repair shop like Master Tech, so we can investigate your brakes and repair the necessary adjustments.

Of course, the best way to handle your brakes failing is practicing preventive maintenance on your vehicle. Have your mechanic check your brakes whenever you go in for regular maintenance or before a long trip.

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