Driver to Driver

Burning Brakes

Monday November 8, 2021

Burning brakes have a very distinctive smell. I can't describe it, I just know the smell. You will too.

Going through the hills of West Virginia is a common route for me. 

Today, I was going through them and I didn’t think I was driving that hard when I smelled burning brakes. 

I checked my GPS to see I was less than 5km from a Rest Area, so I was going to pull in and check my brakes. 

Chances are it isn’t me but it’s safer to check. Perhaps a push rod has remained extended and is causing enough friction to burn the brake. 

As I approached the last downhill and turn, the truck in front of me applied the brake. There it is. I saw the smoke. It’s the truck in front. 

So you know what I did?

I still pulled in to the Rest Area to check my brakes. Just because I saw his smoking, doesn’t mean mine are not. 

It takes one minute to check. I give the smell and touch test. 

I smell each brake and touch each wheel hub. If it smells like burning or it’s really hot to touch, I take a break and don’t go until the smell and touch tests are passed. 

In the case of today, it didn’t even feel like my brakes were warm. 

But at least I feel good that I checked and I know it’s safe for me and others around me.