Lately, whenever you attempt to slow down or stop while driving, you may have noticed a pause between the time that you step on the brakes and when the brakes engage. While there is a possibility that the brakes themselves have gone bad, another possible explanation for this pause is that the lines that deliver fluid to the brakes are failing.
Unlike brake wear and failure, the lines typically do not make a loud noise or cause vibrations when they begin to fail. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to help you determine whether the brakes lines are bad and need to be replaced.
1. Depress the Brake Pedal To See if It Feels Spongy
The first thing that you can do to determine whether or not your car's brake lines are failing is to sit in the driver's seat and depress the brake pedal. Normally, when you step on the pedal, it should feel smooth and firm as it moves, and it should not completely touch the floor.
However, if the lines are no longer able to hold pressure, the pedal will have a spongy feeling to it as it moves. It may also completely hit the floor, which means that there is an issue with the pressure within the hydraulic system within the brake line system.
2. Look at the Lines To See If There Are Any Discolorations
If the pedal feels spongy, the next thing you can do is to take a look at the lines themselves. If you are able to do so safely, look behind all four tires to see if you can find the lines the run from the engine compartment to the wheels.
Once you find the lines, look for any discolorations. If you find reddish-brown areas, this indicates that the lines are rusted. If you see dark spots, these indicate brake fluid leakage. Either way, you will need to replace the lines.
If your brake pedal feels spongy and you find dark or rusted areas on the brake lines, they are getting close to failing and should be replaced as soon as possible. If you wait to replace the lines, they could blow out completely, causing massive leakage of the brake fluid and leading to loss of stopping ability while driving.
Contact an auto parts store in your area to speak with a representative for assistance with choosing the right brake lines for your car's particular make and model.