Why Do My Brakes Lock Up?

Have your brakes been feeling a little grabby lately? Do you find your brakes slowing your car down when you aren’t pressing on the brake pedal? Or, are your brakes locking up after you slam on them? First things first, you shouldn’t be driving your car in traffic until you determine what the problem is and get it resolved. Now, it’s time to learn why your brakes are locking up.


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Brake Issues


If you have anti-lock brakes, they should not lock up while you are driving unless there is an underlying problem. Some of the most common underlying issues include faulty brake pads, bad calipers on the disc brakes or faulty cylinders on the drum brakes.


Regardless of the type of brakes that you have, if your vehicle veers sharply to one side or the other when the brakes are locked, it’s a sign that you should take your car into a mechanic for an official diagnosis. The mechanic will start by working up your brake system. Caliper piston problems, master cylinder issues and a variety of other problems can cause your brakes to lock when driving normally.


Non-Anti-Lock Brakes


Brakes without anti-lock capabilities will lock up whenever you apply hard and steady pressure to them. This occurs most often when slamming on the brakes. If you braked so hard that your tires made a squealing sound, there’s a high probability that your brakes will lock up.


What Should You Do When Your Brakes Lock?


Before anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake systems locking up while driving was much more common. When speeding over black ice or wet leaves, it is tempting to slam on the brakes when you need to stop. However, that will lead to the system locking up and send you sliding down the road. The moment that you feel the brakes start to lock in a car without ABS, you should release the pressure on the pedal entirely and then rapidly pump the brake until the car stops.


If your car has anti-lock brakes, to prevent locking up and sliding, you will feel a vibration and pulsing underneath the pedal as you stop. The brake system is completing the pumping on your behalf. Don’t take your foot off the brake pedal, because the mechanisms in the car are doing the work for you.


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Keep Your Car Safe with Tommy’s Hi Tech Auto


Tommy’s Hi Tech Auto has been keeping drivers in the Denton, Texas area on the road since 1991. When you need great auto care backed up by excellent customer service, you can trust Tommy’s. To schedule an appointment or get in touch, give us a call at 940-222-4491 or email us at service@tommyht.com.

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The top 5 reasons brakes make noise.

The top 5 reasons brakes make noise.

Don't you hate that awkward moment when you pull up to a light and everyone is looking at you because your car is making a horrendous squealing noise? What in the world is that? I just had my brakes replaced, how could they be making noise?

We see five main reason why brakes make noise, and in most cases is caused by a poor install or poor pad quality. If you have any questions, please let us know. We offer a complementary brake inspection, Click here. Below are the five main reasons we see every day we customers have brake noise issues.

The first being the brake pad lining material is worn out. Brake pads don’t last forever, and usually wear out in two years for front brakes, and four years for rear brakes. Did you know on the newer vehicles the rear brakes are used a lot for cornering, steering and handling! We actually see a lot of rear brakes wear out fast than the front because of this. Of course, all of this is depending on driving habits. Some brakes pads are designed to squeal when they get low. This is not as common as it used to be with the invention of brake pad wear sensors. If you’re getting a grinding noise you have most likely run the lining material down to zero, and the noise is the backing plate hitting the rotor and these need to be checked out immediately!

The second common problem we see with brake noises is the rotor surface being uneven. This happens most commonly from wear. Towing heavy loads, or lots of braking can build up heat and “warp” the rotors. As the rotor goes around the brake pad can’t sit on the uneven surface completely, and can start making noise. We will usually recommend resurfacing or replace the rotors when this is an issue.

Thirdly, Brake calipers that have been sticking or missing hardware can cause the pressure applied by the calipers to not be applied evenly. When this happens, it will most likely wear out the brakes unevenly. If the hardware starts to stick, and won’t release, it will cause the brake pads to stick and cause noises, and poor braking. As brake calipers stick and do not slide properly, the brake pads will rub constantly and in turn build up heat and cause crystallization and squeal.

The fourth thing we see is an issue with the brake pad material itself. When you buy anything these days, there is always a good, better, and best. The basic “good” brake pads are a cheaper material and tend to make a lot of noise. They will stop your car, but don’t expect to have smooth or quiet stopping power. This is one reason we do not use value brake pads. You get what you pay for.

The fifth common issue we see is incorrect installation. Missing shims, caliper slides, brake hardware, or hardware not lubricated properly. Brake pads are not as easy to install as you once thought. When we remove the brakes the first thing we do is clean everything and polish the hardware. Remove any rust, road debris, and most important old and sticky lubricates. After the cleaning you need to re-apply good lubricate and install the shims and any other hardware that is replaceable. This will really ensure that the brake pad slides, brake shims, brake pins, brake hardware, is all moving evenly and properly. Shims are commonly ignored when brake pads are installed. However, shims are the main component to absorb the vibrations from the brakes. Vibrations in brakes will make noise.


We offer a fantastic brake service. We can look over your car, provide an accurate estimate, and talk you through any questions at no cost to you. We want you to feel comfortable asking questions, and being an educated consumer. We hope this helps, and if you have any questions please let us know.

~Michael Rosenberger


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College Special - Complimentary Vehicle Health Check

Don't Forget About The Car!

It's hard to believe it's almost time to think about going to college already! We know your list is long and we want to make sure your son or daughter has a safe vehicle driving to and from college. We at Tommy's would love to offer you a complimentary Vehicle Health Check.

Now until September 2018 bring your college ID or other proof and you will receive a complimentary Vehicle Health Check! 

Our Vehicle Health Check Includes:

  1. Oil level and status
  2. Tire Condition
  3. Test battery
  4. Check Alignment
  5. Condition of Coolant and level
  6. Condition of Transmission Fluid and Level
  7. Scan your computer for codes
  8. Test lighting system
  9. Visual inspection under vehicle
  10. Check visual brake pad wear
  11. and MUCH MORE!

See it in action! 

Denton's Best Auto Repair Warranty 3 YR 36K Miles!

We believe our warranty is the best in the country, let alone Denton, TX. Our stated warranty is 3 Year 36,000 Miles BUT we make sure and take care of our customers the way we would like to be treated. So many times we go above and beyond and take care of a warranty concern even if the warranty is out. We have the best customers in Denton and they deserve the best treatment.





Does my car need an Alignment?

Why do I need an Alignment? How often should I align my car in denton, tx? What happens if I don't align my car? How long does an alignment take?

Here is a list that alignment will affect or prevent:

  1. Uneven tire wear (we've seen tires wear out in less than 10K miles)
  2. Steering wheel is crooked
  3. Tires feathering on the edges
  4. Drifting or pulling while driving down the road
  5. Brakes wearing out prematurely
  6. Driver Assist Systems (DAS) not working properly
  7. Braking distance
  8. Cornering and handling
  9. Alignment process can take up to 2 Hours depending on the condition the car is in

Tommy's Hi Tech Auto uses the absolute latest technology on the market. Our cutting edge Hunter alignment machine is fast, accurate, and very intelligent! 

 State of the Art Alignment by Hunter Engineering

State of the Art Alignment by Hunter Engineering