What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes? 3 Problems You Can Face

Did you notice smoke coming out of your car’s tires? It could be your brakes overheating. Let us discuss what happens when you overheat your brakes, what you need to do, and what could be the problems that you will face.

Overheating brakes can result in a vehicle losing its braking power, which will be very dangerous. Overheating can accelerate the wear and tear of components in the braking system.

While it is common for several parts of a vehicle to heat when running, brakes aren’t one of them. When you apply brakes, friction happens between the brake pads and the rotors on the wheels, which generates heat. When the heat reaches higher temperatures than usual, it results in overheating of the brakes. 

Read on below to find out how overheating of brakes happens, what its symptoms are, and solutions. 


What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes


What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes?

When you overheat your brakes, you can lose partial or full control over your vehicle’s braking system. Overheating can also result in the components of the braking system wearing and tearing faster. 

It is crucial to get your brakes checked as soon as you feel, see or hear them overheating. There are a few symptoms that are caused by overheating of brakes.

#1. Brake Fade

Overheating of brakes can result in brake fade. In case of brake fade, the brake pedal will feel spongy. When you press the brake pedal, it goes straight to the bottom instead of slowing down your vehicle.

#2. Smoke coming out of tires

Smoke is another common indicator of overheating of brakes. If you notice smoke coming out of your wheels every time you apply brakes, or otherwise, it is due to the brake pad not completely moving away from the rotors. The contact between the brake pad and rotors causes friction, resulting in smoke coming out of the wheels.

#3. Noise while braking

Since overheating of brakes causes wear and tear of brake parts if you hear a squeaking sound while applying brakes, it is possible due to overheating of brakes.


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Why Do Brakes Overheat?

There can be several reasons for overheating in brakes. The friction between the brake pads and the rotors is one of the main reasons for overheating, but there are several other reasons. Let’s have a look.

  • If you have had some work done on your brakes and the mechanic has installed the brake pads incorrectly, it rubs against the rotor even when you are not applying brakes. It will result in overheating of the brakes.
  • A worn-out brake pad and disc can also be the reason for overheating.
  • A damaged braking mechanism also results in overheating.
  • Warping of brake discs is another reason for overheating of brakes.
  • If the brake caliper pins get stuck, then also brakes can overheat.
  • If the parts and components of your braking system are of low quality, then it also overheats the brakes.


What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes


What To Do When Your Brakes Overheat

When the brakes overheat, you should lower the speed of your vehicle and eventually bring it to a complete halt once you have found some safe location to pull over. Wait for five to ten minutes. 

This much time will be enough for your brakes to cool down. If the problem of overheating is not severe and you can apply brakes, then drive to a nearby mechanic shop to get your brakes repaired. 

If not, use your phone to call for mechanic assistance at your location. While driving to the repair shop, keep your speed to a minimum so that you don’t need to apply brakes frequently.

Why Are My Brakes Smoking After I Changed Them?

Smoking of brakes after you have just changed them can be due to the breaking of your new brakes. New brakes often smoke and smell, and the process is called polymerization

If the brakes smoke even after several uses, there can be some problems with your brakes. When you apply brakes, the brake pads cause friction on the rotor, and the curing process happens. 

When the brake pad doesn’t entirely move away from the rotor, the friction causes overheating, which causes smoke to come out of the wheels.


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What Happens When Brake Fluid Boils?

When there is an increased use of brakes, it can generate a lot of heat, and that will cause an increase in the temperature of the brake fluid. However, brake fluid will only boil when it has absorbed moisture from the atmosphere which lowers its boiling temperature. 

Once the brake fluid starts to boil, it forms bubbles inside the fluid reservoir. The air bubbles are easier to compress than the brake fluid, which means you will feel the compression, but the force will not reach the wheel. 

When you apply the brakes, you will feel brake fade or complete loss of brakes. Instead of slowing or stopping your vehicle, the brake pedal will move down to the floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. What happens if I overheat my brakes? 

If you do not stop your vehicle, you might lose braking completely.


If you overheat your brakes and don’t pull over in time, there is a high chance of losing the braking capability for some time or permanently. Overheating brakes can also result in wearing down other parts of your vehicle.


What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes


#2. What to do after brakes overheat? 

Try to bring your car to a stop slowly.


If you ever see, hear, or feel that something is wrong with the brakes on your vehicle, the first thing you should do is slow down and pull your car over. 

If the brakes are overheating, allow them to cool down for ten minutes, then either use your phone to call for a mechanic or, if the issue is not worse, drive to a nearby car repair shop while keeping the speed to a minimum.

#3. What problems are caused by brakes overheating?

Increased wear and tear, smoke coming out of the wheels etc.


When brakes overheat, they can cause several problems in your vehicle, like fastening the process of wear and tear in brake parts. Overheating brakes can result in brake fade, making the brake pads feel spongy. 

You can also see smoke coming out of your wheels if the brakes are overheating. A squealing sound is also a result of brake overheating with the metal rubbing on metal. 

You can even lose control of your brakes either wholly or partially, leaving you in a dangerous situation. 

#4. How long does it take for overheated brakes to cool?

Not more than 10-15 minutes. But after they are cooled, you need to get to a garage.


Cooling off overheated brakes is easy and does not take much time. If you feel the brakes are overheated, you can either pull over and allow the brakes to cool down or drive at a slower speed which doesn’t require you to apply brakes. In about five to ten minutes, the overheated brakes will cool down.


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A Few Final Words

Brakes are common for several parts of a vehicle to heat up while driving, but overheating brakes is something that you should never ignore. Overheating brakes can result in your car losing its braking capability either partially or, in a more extreme case, permanently. 


What Happens When You Overheat Your Brakes


As soon as you find out that there is something wrong with the brakes in your vehicle, you should lower your speed and bring your car to a halt. Once the brakes are cooled down completely, drive to a nearby repair shop to repair your brakes.


Thank you for reading the article, we hope we answered your queries. You might like to drop us a comment below in case we missed answering some questions that you had.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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