Time for New Brakes? Here’s How to Tell
It goes without saying that your brakes are an important safety feature on your car—that it would be foolish to ever drive anywhere knowing that your brakes aren’t functioning properly or could go out at any minute.
The implication for vehicle owners is obvious, then: It’s important to be mindful of your brakes, and to take every necessary precaution to ensure their functionality.
That means knowing when they need to be fixed—or even replaced.
Is it time for you to get new brakes on your vehicle? There are a few telltale signs and obvious giveaways. We’ll list some of them, after the jump.
Signs You Need Brake Replacement
Stay alert to the possible signs of brake failure—including all of the following.
Reduced brake responsiveness. If your brakes don’t seem to respond to your foot the way they used to, or if the pedal just sort of sinks to the floor when you press it down, that means there’s an issue with the brake system. It may not require full brake replacement—sometimes, it’s just an air leak in the brake hose—but it’s certainly something to have inspected by the professionals.
Vibrations. If the brake pedal feels like it’s vibrating or humming below your foot, that’s a big problem—though not necessarily one of the brakes. It could be that your brakes are going out, but then again it could be that your vehicle needs an alignment. Either way, best to get the vehicle checked out.
Thinning brake pads. You can actually look directly at your brake pads, through the spaces between the wheels’ spokes. If you see an outside pad with less than a quarter inch of thickness, it’s probably about time for a replacement.
Pulling. Does your vehicle seem to pull to one side while you’re braking? If so, that means the brake linings are wearing unevenly, and you may need a brake adjustment, if not a full-fledged replacement.
Grinding noises. Don’t just look for signs of brake disrepair; listen for them, too. If you hear a loud metallic sound when you brake, it’s likely because two pieces of metal—the disc and the caliper—are grinding against one another. In other words, the brake pads have completely worn down. You will likely need to have a full brake replacement, in this case.
There are plenty of ways to tell whether you’ve got an issue with your brakes. The trick is just to be observant—and when you observe one of these warnings signs, to take your car to the professionals. Don’t mess around with brake problems: If you think there’s an issue, or aren’t sure when to get brake pads replaced, get it checked out as soon as you can!