Why Are My Brakes Overheating?

Why Are My Brakes Overheating?

When it comes to cars, anywhere friction is involved, there’s a chance of overheating. That’s the case for your braking system, too. Whether you’re coasting to a stop in your neighborhood or doing a dance with the brake pedal in bumper-to-bumper traffic, your brakes will produce heat—sometimes too much of it.

Why are your brakes overheating? At BMW of Stratham, we can answer that and many other questions! Portsmouth, Exeter, and Stratham drivers can read ahead to learn more on the subject.

Brakes Overheating

Why Are My Brakes Overheating?

While overheated brakes can manifest themselves in many ways, there’s usually one root cause: friction. Aggressive driving and braking can overheat the brakes—in some cases, up to 600° to 700°F. Overheated brakes can also be caused by:

  • Brake pads installed incorrectly
  • Jammed caliper guide pins
  • Low-quality or worn pads/rotors
  • Brake mechanism failure

Signs Your Brakes Are Overheating

Foot on the brake pedal

Before you can do anything else, it’s important to recognize the signs that your brakes are overheating. If you notice any of these problems, your brakes may be generating too much heat:

  • The brake pedal feels soft. Over time, water vapor can collect in your car’s brake fluid reservoir. As your brake fluid heats up from use, the water boils into steam and reduces the effectiveness of your brakes. When you press down on the pedal, you may feel a soft and spongy feeling.
  • The brakes start smoking. Aggressive driving can cause the brake pads to burn and smoke. You can notice this if you smell the pads burning. The scent may smell like a burning carpet.
  • The brakes start squealing. Overheated brakes can cause the brake pads (and even the rotors) to glaze over. These glazed, smooth pads will squeal when they touch the rotors as you brake.

How to Avoid Overheating Brakes

BMW vehicle in motionOverheated brakes are never fun to experience, but they can be avoided in many cases. Much depends on your driving habits. If you can drive more cautiously and avoid aggressive braking, it will be easier to avoid generating too much heat.

Brake smoothly and leave plenty of space in front of your vehicle. Avoid “riding the brakes,” too, which means you’re not taking your foot off the pedal for long periods. Your brakes need rest, even when you find yourself in slow-moving, bumper-to-bumper traffic.

As you approach stops, lift your foot from the accelerator long before the stop, when possible. The more you let the car slow itself, the better your brakes’ condition will be.

Schedule Brake Service at BMW of Stratham

When your brakes have been overheating, you may need service. Whether it’s new brake pads or even a set of resurfaced rotors, the technicians at BMW of Stratham can help. Schedule an appointment at our service center and let our certified experts examine the problem.

We’ll find the symptoms, repair your brakes, and have your car road-ready in no time! Explore Stratham, Exeter, and Portsmouth with more confidence when you choose us for brake service.