Why are your brakes producing a burning scent?

Burn marks on the brake rotors are a sign of brake wear.

If you notice a burning smell coming from your brakes, you should pay attention! Your brakes are one of the most important safety mechanisms in your vehicle and a burning smell often indicates that something isn’t functioning properly. Problems with your brakes can affect the safety of your vehicle and result in a failed Warrant of Fitness.

A burning smell coming from your brakes usually indicates that there is an excessive amount of friction being produced. High levels of friction produce heat, which can lead to brake parts wearing very quickly.

If you’ve recently had your brake pads replaced, an unusual smell is sometimes normal. The scent is usually caused by the coating or resin of your new brake pads burning. Brake pads will often have a “wearing in” period where the outer materials will change. You should only worry if the unusual scent persists for more than a one or two days. If in doubt please get your brakes rechecked immediately.


Most common causes of brake burning smell:

There are several different things which can cause your brakes to produce a burning smell. Below are some of the most common causes:

Improper brake use:

Your brakes use friction to slow your vehicle down. This friction produces large amounts of heat. In normal conditions, your braking system will be able to handle this heat. However, incorrect application of the brakes can lead to excessively high heat levels.

When you are very heavy on your brakes or excessively pump the brake pedal, the brake discs and brake pads (or drums and shoes) may reach an unhealthy heat level. This can lead to overheating and a noticeable burning smell.

How to extend the life of your brakes >

Driving with the parking brake engaged:

Leaving your parking brake engaged is a mistake that everyone makes sometimes. However, if you drive for any distance with the parking brake engaged, it can lead to excess heat in your braking system. This can result in damage and failure to important braking components.

Incorrectly installed components:

In order for your braking system to work correctly, care must be taken when installing/replacing components. If the brake pads, discs or other parts aren’t correctly installed, they can wear very quickly, leading to high heat levels and a burning smell.

Seized brake caliper:

In some cases, a piston in the brake caliper can seize. This can lead to the brake “dragging” as you drive. The longer you drive with a seized piston, the hotter your brakes will get. In some cases when this happens, you may also notice loud noises coming from your wheels and sometime it can be silent.

Brake caliper replacement in Hamilton >


Brake Diagnostics & Inspections in Hamilton

Have your car’s brakes been producing a strong burning scent or not working properly? If so, we can help you solve the problem. At Grimmer Motors, our team of excellent mechanics can examine your braking system for wear and incorrect operation. From here, we can tell you why your brakes are having issues.

A new brake part can remove the burning scent from your brakes, as well as make your car safer to drive. For brake part replacement and services in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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