Car brakes overheat for various reasons, including as a result of riding the brake and applying excessive force to or overusing the brakes. When brakes overheat on a regular basis, hardened spots can develop on the brake drums or the rotors. These "hot spots" resist friction, causing brake failure.
Other signs of brake failure include rust buildup on the vehicle's emergency brake cables. This phenomenon can also lead to overheating because it causes the emergency brake system to fail to release properly. Consequently, drivers experience "drag" as they accelerate. To avoid overheating and brake failure, it is important to check a vehicle's brake system regularly for signs of wear and tear and to replace brake pads when they are worn down.