BRAKE WARNING LIGHTS
If your brake warning light is on, it could mean that your emergency brake is on, or you have lost brake pressure in more than half of the brake system.
HARD BRAKE PEDAL
A hard brake pedal will require you to exert a significant amount of pressure on the pedal. This could be the sign of power brake trouble, restricted hydraulic lines, frozen calipers or wheel cylinders, or damaged brake linings.
LOW OR "SPONGY" BRAKE PEDAL
A low brake pedal is one that nearly touches the floorboard of your car, or when you apply pressure to it, it feels "spongy". Your brake light might also turn on if you experience this problem. It may require just a simple adjustment, but could lead to something more serious as well.
This may feel like the brakes are "sticking", the wheels feel hot or the engine feels as though it has lost power. This most likely means that the brakes are failing to release.
This symptom can be described as brakes that grab and stop without putting much pressure on the pedal. It could just be a minor problem with a simple fix, such as the brake lining being contaminated with grease or oil, but could also mean something more serious that requires immediate attention, such as a broken component in the brake system.
This can be described as your vehicle pulling or diving to a certain direction when you apply pressure on the brakes. The cause could be a number of things, from an underinflated tire to a misadjusted brake.
Brakes in perfect condition should be making very little noise, if any. A small amount of noise is normal, but excessive grinding, screeching, squealing or clatter means that there could be a serious problem.
VIBRATING WHEN BRAKING
This warning sign is when your brakes, steering wheel or entire vehicle vibates or pulsates when you apply pressure to the brakes. It could mean a couple things, that you need to resurface disc brake rotors, or it could be telling you that there is a loose component or faulty steering mechanism.
WHAT TO DO
If you recognize any of these symptoms when driving and applying pressure to the brakes, don't look past it or think that it is not a big deal. All of these symptoms can result in longer stopping distances and/or difficulty stopping your vehicle. It is best to take your car to a professional to get your brakes looked at and the problem resolved. It is recommended that you get your brakes routinely checked once every year.