Posted on: 8 July 2022Share
When you stand on the brakes while you are driving, you expect the car to slow down in a straight line. After all, anything else could cause a major issue, and you could easily run into another vehicle or something else while trying to regain control. So if this is something that you have recently experienced, you will certainly want to get to the bottom of it. What could have caused this type of problem, and what should you do next?
How the Brakes Should Work
Your braking system is configured so that an equal amount of pressure is applied to each of the wheels whenever you depress the brake pedal. As part of this process, hydraulic fluid is pumped through hoses to a calliper mechanism mounted on each wheel hub. Within the calliper, you'll find a pair of friction pads. When the hydraulic fluid gets to the calliper it will push against a piston which will, in turn, push the pads against a rotary disc. Your vehicle will slow down because the disc is essentially connected to the road wheel.
When Problems Arise
All is well if the callipers work as they should. However, the piston on one calliper will sometimes stick in the open or closed position. If the calliper on one of the front wheels remains open when you apply the brakes, the brake pads will stay in the static position and will not push forward onto that disc.
Meanwhile, the brakes work as normal on the other side of the vehicle, so the car will dart in that direction instead. In other words, the "working" side will be highly efficient at slowing the vehicle down while the other side will not, and this will cause the car to veer to the side.
What to Do Next
To put it mildly, this can be very disconcerting, and you should not drive the vehicle in this condition. It may be especially dangerous if the problem is intermittent, and those bad pistons may work occasionally but not all the time. There may be a buildup of dirt in or around the pistons, leading to intermittent operation.
Your best advice is to take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. They will be able to replace the faulty calliper pistons but will also do a full service while they're at it. They may replace the friction pads and the hydraulic fluid to ensure that you can safely get behind the wheel again.