Signs Your Car is About to Die

Hello, my name is Roy. For many years, I drove a 1976 Ford estate car around Sydney. The car had belonged to my grandpa. It was passed down to me when I had just passed my driving test at the age of 18. That was in 1986 and the car was already in a pretty bad condition then. Fast forward to 2006 and I was now aged 38 and still driving the same car around. Sometimes the car wouldn't start, white smoke came out of the exhaust and the gearbox made a terrible sound. I did my best to patch it up, but eventually, I had to scrap the car and buy a new one. I decided to start a blog to encourage others to service their cars.

What to Do if Your Braking System Takes You on a Wild Ride


Does your car want to take you somewhere you don't want to go? In other words, does the steering tend to pull to one side so that the vehicle veers off in a certain direction when you place your foot on the brake pedal? If so, this can be disconcerting, and you'll want to understand why it is happening and put a stop to it. What could be going wrong in this situation?

Discs and Drums

Most modern cars have a mixture of disc brakes and drum brakes. Typically, the discs will be fitted to each of the front wheels and the drums on the back, but both use a special kind of friction material that is designed to "rub" against something to stop the vehicle.

In this case, the issue is probably associated with the front disc brake system. If you were to look closely at each wheel, you would see a component known as a caliper attached to the suspension upright and overlapping a rotary disc. This disc is, in turn, attached to the vehicle's hub and rotates at the same speed as the road wheel. When you put your foot on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid flows to the caliper, and pistons push a pair of friction pads against the disc. This friction will eventually bring the vehicle to a stop.

Worn Friction Pads

Problems can arise when the friction pads begin to wear down to a certain level. Sometimes, these pads will wear out inconsistently so that one side is affected more than the other. When this happens, the less-affected side will be more efficient than the other, and this will cause the vehicle to pull off to the side when you brake. In this situation, you may also notice a grinding noise, and this means that the pads are wearing through to the metal and may be causing damage to the discs as well.

Alternatively, one of those calipers may be faulty. The pistons may be stuck in the on or off position and either apply pressure to the discs or none at all. Again, this type of inconsistency can cause the vehicle to veer off its intended path.

Finding out More

These are two of several potential problems that may cause your vehicle to pull to one side. A mechanic is best placed to address any issues, however, so you should take the vehicle to a local brake repair service as soon as possible. And remember, if you keep up with regular servicing, you may be able to avoid any unwanted brake issues.


7 December 2021