The hydraulic braking system on your Dodge car, truck, SUV or minivan is a powerful and dependable system when properly maintained. When you step on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is forced through steel lines from the master cylinder to slave cylinders on each wheel. The slave cylinders activate a piston in the calipers that push the brake pads against the rotors to create the friction required to stop your vehicle. If these components fail or are worn, it will increase the stopping distance of your Charger, Caravan or Dakota boosting the potential for accident and injuries.
Common Brake Problems
Because you use this essential safety component every time that you drive, they account for most of the automotive issues experienced by drivers. The system has numerous parts that wear out over time and should be replaced on a regular basis. Brake pads, shoes, rotors and fluid levels require the most attention. Although problems with the master cylinder, booster, calipers and wheel cylinders are less common, you should also check these parts when inspecting your brakes. Many brake components are mounted underneath your vehicle and exposed to the weather and road debris. In addition to damage from poor road conditions, snow, ice and road salts can cause rust or other brake system component failure.
Anti-lock Brake Light Illuminated
When this warning light illuminates, you should perform a diagnostic code check. While the problem could be in the control unit or wiring, the most common reason for the light to illuminate is that the wheel speed sensor is malfunctioning. When the sensor fails, it cannot determine how fast your wheels are turning, so it will turn off your traction control and ABS system.
Brake Warning Light Illuminated
When this light comes on, ensure that your emergency brake is not stuck in the on position. Cycle the emergency brake to ensure that it engages and disengages. Determine if the light goes out or flickers. If this is the case, you need to adjust the emergency brake. Another simple fix may be to replenish the brake fluid. Check the level in the master cylinder reservoir. If it is low, it will cause the light to come on even though your brakes are working as designed. If you must replenish brake fluid on a regular basis, you have a leak in the system that must be addressed. Along with the master cylinder, inspect brake lines, calipers and wheel cylinders for signs of brake fluid. Remember to look under the dash where the pedal penetrates the firewall to see whether the area is wet. Another sign of a fluid leak is fading, which means that the pedal goes all the way to the floor. If you must pump the pedal in order for the brakes to engage, you probably have air trapped in the system.
Brake Lights Stay On
The brake pedal is equipped with a switch that activates your brake lights when your foot is on the pedal. If it is faulty, it will cause the taillights to stay on regardless of the pedal’s position. Ask someone to stand behind your vehicle as you lift the pedal with your fingers or foot. If the lights go out, you need to replace the switch.
Delaminated Brake Pads
Brake pads typically activate the audio wear indicator when there is approximately 2 millimeters of friction lining remaining. Laboratory tests show that brake pads will still function correctly to within 1 millimeter if the entire pad surface engages and remains in full contact with the rotor. If the brake pad is made from inferior materials, the friction lining may begin to delaminate at this point degrading the performance of your brake system and possibly damaging other components. This is why you should only install brand name Dodge OEM brake pads, which are crafted from high-quality materials and backed by a full warranty.
Worn Brake Pads
While you may not think about your brakes very often, they should be in top working condition at all times. Look through the spaces on your wheels to try to see the wear indicators on your brake pads. You should have a minimum of one-quarter inch of friction surface remaining. A squealing noise indicates that the built-in the wear indicator has activated. If you wait too long to have your brakes serviced, you will eventually hear a grinding noise indicating metal-to-metal contact between the pads and rotors that can severely damage both components.
Brake Rotor Problems
Many of the same signs that indicate worn brake pads can also be symptoms of a bad disc rotor. If the brake pads are in good shape, inspect the rotor for gouges and other damage. Vibration or pulsating brakes could be a sign of a warped rotor. Disc rotors are designed to function correctly with a minimum specified thickness. In the past, it was possible to turn the rotor to smooth out a damaged surface. There is typically not enough friction area on modern rotors to perform this repair. As a result, it is often less expensive and time consuming to simply replace the rotor instead of trying to turn it.
Disc brake calipers have the fewest moving parts and are generally very reliable. A common sign of caliper failure is the vehicle pulling in one direction when the brakes are applied. This is caused by uneven activation because one caliper is not releasing the required pressure. In many cases, the protective rubber boot has perforated or cracked, which has allowed water to enter the system and corrode the piston bore. This is a common problem in rust-belt areas like Massachusetts. You may also hear rattling, squealing or a grinding noise. Like disc brake rotors, calipers are more easily replaced than repaired. When replacing the caliper, inspect the brake line to determine if it also needs to be replaced.
Why Use Genuine OEM Parts?
For your safety and that of others, your brakes must work every time that you step on the pedal. It is essential that you only install parts that you know will fit and function properly, which means using genuine Dodge name brand parts. Dodge OEM parts are made to the exact same standards as those components installed at the factory. In addition to delivering reliable performance, they never require additional parts or special adjustments to work correctly. This saves you time and money while eliminating the headaches that can arise when evaluating aftermarket products.
When you need brake system components, including brake pads, calipers or rotors, buymoparpartsnow.com has you covered. Search our extensive catalog by VIN, keyword or part number to find the parts that you need. The user-friendly system also allows you to perform a quick search by selecting the correct year, make and model from the drop-down menu. If you need assistance, our trained staff is ready to help. We carry a wide range of Dodge OEM parts and accessories and can ship them right to your door.