There’s A Bad Smell Coming From My Brakes, What Should I Do?

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The Brake System

The brakes are maybe the single most important part of a car. They keep us safe by using friction to stop our vehicles. How do they work? Well, there are two major brake systems; disc and drum brakes. The general parts of a disc brake system are brake pads, rotors, calipers, and caliper supports. This is common in many vehicles. Disc brakes work by transferring fluid pressure from the master cylinder (where the brake pedal is) to the calipers and caliper supports that squeeze the brake pads onto the disc rotor. This causes friction and retards the motion of the wheel.

The parts of a drum brake system are the brake drum, wheel hub, back plate, break shoes, brake lining, hold down spring, retaining springs, wheel cylinder, brake adjuster, adjuster lever and spring, and wheel cylinder. The drum brake system, like the disc system, works through hydraulic pressure. Brake fluid is pumped to the wheel cylinder pistons, which push the brake shoes. The brake shoes apply pressure to the brake liner, which creates friction with the drum surface and retards the motion of the wheel. Much of the other parts of the drum system are in place to ensure those components work correctly. At Advanced Auto Sports, we provide a comprehensive digital safety inspection, which means that your brakes will always be on our list of things to check!


First, lets talk about what is even capable of creating a smell on your brakes. Polymerization is a process where molecules join together to create chains. New brake pads usually have some kind of chemical on them that is polymerized when they are used. The other cause of a burning smell is, well, burning. This is when there is actually something wrong, and parts that are not supposed to be rubbing together create friction.

usually have resins that create a chemical coating from the manufacturer. When you use your brakes for the first time, the heat produced during that reaction causes polymerization, also known as curing. During this polymerization reaction on your brake pads, various gases are released. Those gases can smell like burning. At Advanced Auto Sports in Farmington Hills you have a nationwide warranty with TechNet of 2 years/24,000 miles. The smell should wear off after a few hours on new brake pads. If it lasts longer than that, it could be…

When The Emergency Brake Is Left On

We’ve all accidentally left on our emergency brake, and likely wondered why our car was sluggish. If you have driven any amount of distance with your emergency brake on, you may have created overheated brake pads. This can both produce a smell and create a poor performance. It is best to get your car checked right away if you think this may be the case. At advanced Auto Sports.

When The Brake Calipers Are Stuck.

As mentioned above, calipers are the part of the disc brake system that close the brake pads in on the disc rotor. If the calipers become stuck, they may not release from the disc rotor even after you’ve removed your foot from the brake pedal (and thereby released fluid pressure from the master cylinder). If this happens, the brake pads will produce continuous pressure on the disc rotor even when you are trying to accelerate, creating smoke and a bad odor.

If you are experiencing a bad smell from your brakes and they are not brand new brake pads, then it is always best to take your car to the shop and have them run a check. At Advanced Auto Sports, we pride ourselves on a higher level of service. We don’t just want to provide the best brake system service and repair; we want to gain your trust. When it comes to the single most important safety feature of your vehicle, its certainly better to be safe than sorry!