Q: My brakes don't smoothly stop when applied. What's causing the inconsistent pressure?

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My vehicle sat for a few months due to the fact that I lost my driver's license. I still had a friend drive it around town now and again to give the battery some juice. We never noticed braking issues. But now that I have my license back and I'm driving it daily, I'm noticing an inconsistency in the way the brakes work. Instead of smoothly stopping, it's a choppy, uneven stop. I have been told that the brake pads/components may have rusted while sitting and it may take some time to even out again. However, I've been driving for 2-3 weeks, I've put on 30-50 miles and the brakes are still inconsistent. Do I need new pads? Do I need to take it out on the highway and go for a "real" drive to truly knock the rust off? Is this an issue I can remedy myself without taking it to a mechanic shop?

My car has 172000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The choppy sensation you are feeling when applying the brakes is most likely unevenly worn brake pads and/or rotors. When brakes are applied heavily or held for extended periods of time, this can generate an enormous amount of heat. As they heat up and cool down repeatedly, they will develop low spots in the rotors creating an uneven surface. When this happens and you then apply the brakes, as the pads clamp down on the rotors the choppy feeling you are getting is the uneven surface grinding against an even surface.

This often times requires the brake pads and depending on how bad it is, the rotors to be replaced. I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose your brakes and replace these components as necessary.

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