Common Symptoms of Overheated Brakes (with Fixes) (2023)

Common Symptoms of Overheated Brakes (with Fixes) (1)

Heat causes a number of problems with your vehicle.

You may already be familiar with typical components in your car that can be exposed to intense heat, such as: B. the exhaust inlets and outlets, pistons, cylinder head and radiator.

But did you know that your brakes can also overheat?

The friction between the brake pads and the rotors causes the car to stop.

Where there is friction, there is heat.

When the temperature rises to a dangerous level, braking difficulties arise. So how can you spot the signs of brake overheating and fix the problem?

In this article we will cover these questions in detail and much more.


What are the symptoms of overheated brakes?

Brakes are one of the most important features of any vehicle as they allow you to stop.

Regular maintenance and quick repairs are therefore essential.

Here are some symptoms of overheated brakes:

1- deceleration of the car

If you feel your vehicle slowing down while driving, even if you take your foot off the brake pedal, this could be a sign that your brakes are overheating.

Try shifting into neutral and pressing the brake pedal; If the pedal isn't soft, that's a sign you need to cool the brakes.

(Video) “3 reasons” your car brakes get too HOT (how to fix it) seized guide pins, caliper, hose

2-Brake pedal pulsation

Another sign of brake overheating is leg pain when you press the brake pedal.

This occurs when you step on the brakes at high speed. A pulsing sensation indicates the brakes are hot.

3- The temperature of the smoke wheels

If you smell something burning, like charcoal or burnt rubber, your tires could be smoking.

This indicates that your brakes are now hot.

I personally use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of the rotors, which checks the level of brake overheating.

4-stuck wheels

If you move or jack your car and you feel resistance, this indicates that your brakes are overheating.

Common Symptoms of Overheated Brakes (with Fixes) (2)

What is the normal temperature of a brake disc?

During normal operation, the rotors can reach temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you drive for many hours, the temperature of the rotors can reach 1000 degrees Fahrenheit due to the heavy use on the brakes, leading to rapid wear.

To avoid overheating the rotors, avoid braking too often and instead use the downshift technique to slow the car down.

Why do the brakes turn red and start smoking?

This is done by heating up the stuck piston or the wheel bearing.

When this occurs, the cylinder pushes against the brake shoe, which then pushes against the rotor drum.

As a result, there is a lot of friction between different components of the braking system. In this case, you will see black dust on the hubcaps, indicating that the brakes have gotten hot.

In addition, the wheel bearings get hot.

When this occurs, the temperature of the entire braking system rises, causing the brakes to become red hot and smoke coming out of the brake disc.

This will also cause the rotor to change color from blue to pink, indicating it needs to be replaced.

(Video) Brake discs overheating: why it happens and how to fix it | AUTODOC's tips

What to do if your car's brakes overheat quickly?

If you notice the signs above, it is best to slow down and find a safe parking spot.

While you wait for the brakes to cool down, visit the nearest brake repair shop.

Then drive to that point, being careful to drive slowly and carefully to avoid overheating the brakes.

How to avoid overheating?

Because prevention is preferable to cure, follow your vehicle's maintenance schedule to ensure your braking system is regularly tested and its components replaced as specified by the manufacturer.

Also remember the following:

  • Use only quality replacement components.
  • Find a reputable service or repair center.
  • To ensure even wear, replace components in pairs.
  • Pay attention to the thickness of the brake pads and discs.

Most manufacturers recommend changing the front brake discs between 30,000 and 40,000 kilometers and the rear rotors between 40,000 and 50,000 kilometers.

However, the times vary depending on the manufacturer.

It is also beneficial to consider your driving style.

If you are a reckless driver who frequently bangs on your brakes and rotors, you will need to replace the discs and rotors sooner.

frequently asked questions

What causes the brakes to overheat after braking work?

This is a frequently asked question. The movement of the slide pin could be the cause.

If pin mobility is poor, the brake pads will overheat and wear out faster than normal, even after brake service.

Another cause could be the brake pads themselves. Brakes can be damaged if they are too tight and don't have enough free play to slide between the brackets.

Is it normal for one brake disc to get hotter than the other?

No, when the brakes get hot, it happens to both discs at the same time.

There are two methods to determine the status of disks. Sometimes the condition of the discs can be determined simply by the color of the discs.

(Video) Why Are Your Brakes Overheating & Creating A Burnt Smell? (2009 - 2014 Ford F-150)

You have to jack up the car to check the color of the windows. Use a jack to do this.

Once you have access below, check if the rotor is blue (normal) or pink (requires rotor replacement).

How do you choose new brake discs if you have to buy them to replace them?

It is important to remember that a faulty car braking system puts your safety and the safety of others at risk.

Therefore, you need to make an informed decision about which brake system components to purchase.

When choosing brake discs, you must adhere to the recommendations and technical criteria of the manufacturer of your vehicle.

Remember to always buy brake discs that are specifically designed for your car.

Brake discs must be made of materials that have the following properties:

  • High resistance and heat transfer capacity.
  • Low adhesion
  • And a high coefficient of friction.

Buy only reliable vehicle components, the quality of which is guaranteed.

Other related posts:

11 basics for an RV office remodel

For the modern entrepreneur, being tied to a desk is no longer a requirement for success. With the advent ofSee more information

How do locksmiths make car keys without the original?

You may have come across instances where your car key was lost, broken or damaged. A locksmith will help make a duplicate.See more information

(Video) Why is my wheel smoking and hot? Let’s find out!

Powder coated wheels: the pros and cons

Powder-coated wheels have become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a process to change the color of the wheel. gunpowderSee more information

Top 11 VIN Decoders for Free Searches?

When buying a used car or looking for a vehicle that hasSee more information

Common Symptoms of Overheated Brakes (with Fixes) (7)

Sitz in Orem, UTJuan PatersonHe graduated from Utah Valley University and began writing in 2009. He has extensive experience writing articles on cars, auto repair, wheels, cleaning/maintenance and much more. He has also written how-to articles in a similar niche for a few online publications. He currently works asMechanic in his private workshop, where he prefers to serve his compatriots.

(Video) What's That Burning Smell From My Car? Frozen Brakes!


What to do after brakes overheat? ›

What To Do When Brakes Overheat. As soon as you feel, smell, hear, or even suspect that something is wrong with your brakes—the first thing you need to do is slow down and find a safe place to pull over. While you're safely stopped and letting your brakes cool, use your phone to find a brake repair place near you.

What happens if your brakes overheat? ›

If you smell hot chemicals, your brakes have overheated to the point that the brake fluid is boiling. This is a critical-mass moment for your brake system, and the brakes will likely fail. The smoke is caused by the extreme heat coming from the brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid.

How long does it take for overheated brakes to cool down? ›

Cooling off overheated brakes is simple: Just drive around at modest speeds, (slow enough not to need the brakes) for about 5 minutes.

Can brakes stop working when overheating? ›

This hydraulic fluid helps your automobile stop, and when it gets too hot, it cannot do its job. Serious overheating can actually make the brake fluid boil in the brake lines, and you can imagine the havoc this can cause between the boiling brake fluid and the glazed brake pads and rotors.

Can you drive after your brakes overheat? ›

Err on the Side of Caution

If you notice any of the signs above and believe your brakes are overheating, it's best to stop driving your automobile until they cool down at a minimum. It's even better to get towed to an auto service shop for a brake inspection.

Do overheated brakes squeal? ›

The Dangers of Overheating Brakes

Squealing is just one sign that your brakes have overheated, and the brakes are squealing because the pads and rotors have glazed, i.e., smoothed out. Another sign of overheating brakes is a burning smell, whether of chemicals or burnt carpet.

What causes brakes to get extremely hot? ›

As the brake pads close around the rotor, they slow it down, causing your car to decelerate. It is this action that causes a lot of friction. Friction produces heat, which is why your brake discs may become hot after braking for a prolonged period of time.

What do overheated brakes sound like? ›

Squealing brakes

Loud squealing every time you press the brake pedal is an obvious symptom of brakes that are overheating. Most likely, your vehicle's brake components are too old.

What do overheating brakes smell like? ›

Now you notice a smell like burning rubber? It's not uncommon for your brake pads to overheat when they're engaged for longer periods of time or more pressure is used than normal. The friction between your brake pads and rotors naturally creates heat that can cause a burning smell after prolonged use.

At what temperature do brakes overheat? ›

The causes of the brake disc overheating

The main cause of the brake disc overheating is friction. While the working principle of the braking system is based on friction , with the aggressive driving style it increases. This leads to an increase in the temperature of the brake discs to 600-700 °C.

Should you put water on overheated brakes? ›

that is a bad idea. water can potentially cause the disc to warp or crack. if you think the brakes are getting to hot, stop and wait for it to cool down.

Can low brake fluid cause overheating? ›

If your brake system is low on fluid or otherwise compromised, it can overheat. Stop-and-go traffic can make your brakes overheat. Riding the brakes overheats them. Here's why: Your brakes use friction to stop and friction generates heat.

What happens if your brakes stop working while driving? ›

Drive into the least hazardous area, not only for you but for other vehicles and pedestrians around you. You should prioritize avoiding injuries to yourself and others. If you do not have a safe area on the road to pull off safely, look for a grass median, open field, or bushes to help slow the vehicle.

What is poor braking due to overheating called? ›

Brake fade is caused by a buildup of heat in the braking surfaces and the subsequent changes and reactions in the brake system components and can be experienced with both drum brakes and disc brakes. Loss of stopping power, or fade, can be caused by friction fade, mechanical fade, or fluid fade.

What are the dangers of an overheated brake assembly? ›

However, if the brakes get too hot, it can cause several difficulties. - Overheated brakes respond less quickly, and increase the stopping or slowing time of your truck. - This low efficiency will wear the brakes out more quickly, and can also damage the wheels and other parts of your truck's engineering.

Why do my brakes squeak but the pads are good? ›

When moisture sets in on your brakes, a thin layer of rust can easily build up on the rotors. This can cause a grinding or squealing sound when you apply your brakes. Fortunately, the rust buildup can usually be remedied with normal driving.

Why are my brakes still squeaking after replacing pads and rotors? ›

The leading cause of brakes squealing after replacing the pads is excessive brake dust trapped between the caliper and the rotor.

What does a stuck caliper smell like? ›

You may also notice the car pulling to one side with the steering wheel pointed straight, when cruising and not applying the brake. As you drive, the seized brake may also get hot – very hot. You'll quickly smell the brakes overheating (it's a distinctive acrid smell) and may even see smoke coming off them.

Can you drive with a stuck caliper? ›

If you have a stuck caliper, the brake pad will not completely disengage from the surface of the brake rotor. This means you will be driving with the brakes applied slightly all of the time. Driving with a stuck caliper can create stress on the transmission, causing it to fail earlier.

Why does my car smell like burning rubber when I brake? ›

If you notice a burning rubber smell from cars, it is often a sign that you have overheated the brakes or tires. Overheating usually occurs when your car's clutch is slipping or not working properly. If you experience this smell and were using your clutch at the time, let the car cool down, and try again.

How do I lower my brake temperature? ›

How to Prevent Overheating
  1. Make sure that your braking system is in good condition.
  2. Check that your calipers are fully functioning and that there are no issues such as sticky, sliding pins or seized pistons.
  3. Run brake cooling/ducting if and where possible.
  4. Use high-temperature brake fluid.
Nov 11, 2021

Can hot brakes catch fire? ›

Brake failure

Because they use friction to do their job, truck brakes have the potential to overheat. Not only does excess heat make brakes fail, but brake temperatures may also climb high enough to start a fire.

Why does my brake pedal go to the floor when hot? ›

One of the more common causes for the brake pedal going to the floor is a loss of brake fluid. When you're out of brake fluid, your brakes simply won't work. This is pretty easy to diagnose: You should be able to see brake fluid underneath the car if there's a leak in the system.

What might cause your brakes to overheat and start to fade? ›

Brake fade also happens when your car's brake fluid overheats and actually starts to boil. This again is caused by excessive heat buildup from friction at high speeds. Boiling brake fluid can turn into steam, reducing the stopping power of your brakes and making the pedal feel 'spongy' or soft.

Why do my brakes smell like burning rubber? ›

Burning Rubber

It's not uncommon for your brake pads to overheat when they're engaged for longer periods of time or more pressure is used than normal. The friction between your brake pads and rotors naturally creates heat that can cause a burning smell after prolonged use.


(Auto Repair Guys)
2. Action to Take When You Know Your Brakes Have Been Overheated
3. Vibrating or Pulsing Brakes? Diagnose Brake Problems on Your Car or Truck
(1A Auto: Repair Tips & Secrets Only Mechanics Know)
5. 4 signs a caliper needs replaced | 4 Tips
(Babcox Media)
6. Most Common Brake Installation Mistakes!
(1A Auto: Repair Tips & Secrets Only Mechanics Know)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 04/26/2023

Views: 5629

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.