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What Will Cause Brakes to Smoke?


The Problem

You are driving in your car, and begin noticing the telltale odor of smoke. The smell increases, and you see smoke coming from the front or back of your vehicle. This can be a frightening experience, and the culprit is often your car’s brake system. Smoking brakes are not uncommon and generally happen for a few simple reasons. If your brakes begin smoking, consider some of the possible causes and rule out the more common possibilities first.

Common Causes

The most common reason for smoking brakes is a stuck caliper. If your car’s brake system uses floating calipers, they are designed to slide around to function properly. Calipers sometimes become stuck, locking the brake into place. This creates enormous friction as you drive, creating smoke and a foul odor.