Brake Tests

Brake tests can tell you what's wrong with your brakes or simply let you know how effective they are. Brake tests vary in type and some of them require certain tools and materials. In this section we'll examine all of the different brake tests out there.

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If you know how to change a tire and can use an aerosol spray, then you already know how to use brake cleaner. It's an effective way to remove oil, dirt and debris from your vehicle's brake components.

By Christopher Neiger

Anyone with an expensive car (or even just a nice set of wheels) knows that brake dust can quickly turn your shiny rims shabby. Brake dust covers promise to protect your investment, but do they work?

By Nicholas Gerbis

The base brake system in all modern cars is very similar to the hydraulic brake system introduced in the 1920 Duesenberg. Brake testing is simple and straightforward -- only a few hand tools are necessary.

By Eric Baxter


You may have heard that by the time you discover your car has a brake problem, it's usually too late. Fortunately, the brake system is pretty simple, and it's easy to learn how to check the condition of different brake components.

By Cherise Threewitt

One of the scariest things is to step on your brakes and feel no traction. This can happen if the pads have become too worn. That's why it's important to check them regularly. We'll show you how.

By Josh Briggs

There's no doubt your car's brakes are important. While other breakdowns are a bother, if your brakes fail, you could be in for a real disaster. It's all avoidable -- if you know how to test your brakes.

By Nicholas Gerbis

It's important to keep all parts of your car's brake system in proper working order -- including the caliper guide pins. All you'll need is a few hand tools and a little high-temperature grease.

By Patrick E. George


A brake lathe is an efficient tool for curing noise and vibration problems, and it can often prolong the life of brake systems. Is this something you need in your own garage, or do brake lathes belong in a mechanic's shop?

By Cherise Threewitt

Have you ever hit your brakes and had the pedal go all the way to the floor? It shouldn't happen, and you should get it checked out as soon as possible if it does.

By Jamie Page Deaton & Kristen Hall-Geisler

Though you might not be equipped to handle a brake job -- after all, you're taking your life in your own hands -- anyone who's willing to get a little greasy can chase down the source of a brake problem. What are some tests used to determine faulty brakes?

By Cherise Threewitt

It's a familiar scene: You're at your local auto service counter paying for an oil change and a tire rotation when your mechanic asks if you'd also like your brakes flushed. Is it really necessary?

By Jamie Page Deaton


Remember the old "Flintstones" cartoon where Fred stops his car by pressing his feet down to the ground? Though our braking method today is surprisingly similar (we put our feet down, and the car stops), it's also a bit more advanced -- thanks in part to an amazingly useful and underappreciated liquid we call "brake fluid."

By Craig Haggit

Nobody likes the brake and shake — that is, when you hit the brakes, it feels like your steering wheel is about to wriggle free from the shaft. If your steering wheel shakes when braking, you may want to check your rotors.

By Colleen Cancio & Talon Homer

If you like to change the brakes on your own car, you might want to have a brake puller handy. This is a device that pulls the drum away from the brake shoes and can be useful with older vehicles that have stuck drum brakes. Let's find out more.

By Josh Briggs

Your brakes use friction to slow and stop your car, but you might be surprised to learn that your brakes also need the correct lubricant to work properly. Be careful though: A little lube in the wrong place can ruin your car.

By Ed Grabianowski


You can tell a lot about the condition of your car's brakes by how they feel when you push on them. Too hard, too soft or too gritty all mean different things. Here's a guide to help you figure it out.

By Josh Briggs

Brakes may not be the most exciting part of a car, but they're certainly one of the most crucial. Learn when to replace worn brake pads and other components.

By Michael Franco

Driving with your brake lights out puts you and your passengers at risk. So how do you identify and fix the problem? We've got some answers.

By Brian Boone & Talon Homer

When it comes to braking, different drivers have different reaction times. Your time can depend on driving skills, vehicle capabilities, and road conditions. Read on to test how much braking distance you need.

By Josh Briggs


Long gone are the days of start lines, stopwatches and measuring tape. Today, brake-system testers use windshield-mounted accelerometers, dynamometers and global positioning systems to gather information.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Riveted brakes are far less common now than they once were, yet still several types of brake riveting tools are out there. The tools are pretty straightforward, but we have a few tips to share with you.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler