Five Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Brakes

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with your car. Some are more serious than others. Your brakes are one thing you don’t want to go wrong while you’re driving, so it’s important to keep a close eye on them.

It can be even more important to update your brakes if you have recently updated the power performance of your vehicle. A faster car puts more stress on the brake system, which means you may need to replace your brakes or pads sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, new brake systems can be costly. You don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on a brake system you don’t need! Make sure you’re spending money on an essential repair by looking for these signs that your brakes could use some TLC.

Squeaky Brakes

Squeaky brakes are a common problem, and just because your brakes squeak doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s normal for brakes to squeak a little first thing in the morning or after a rain storm.

Rust can also cause your brakes to squeak when there isn’t a larger problem. If the sound disappears after you drive your car for a bit, your brakes are probably fine.

However, if your brakes always squeak, no matter how long you drive the vehicle or whether it rained or not, there’s probably a bigger problem with your brake system.

It’s not just squeaking that you should be listening for. If instead, your brakes make a grinding or growling sound, there could still be a problem. It’s a good idea to visit a mechanic to assess your brake system.

Vibrating Brake Pedal

There are a few reasons for a vibrating brake pedal. The best case scenario is that your vehicle is out of alignment, which is a relatively easy thing for your mechanic to fix.

It could also be the case that the brake rotors are unevenly worn, or warped. The vibration occurs when one section of the rotor is thinner than the other. It only takes a few thousandths of an inch in order for you to tell there’s a problem.

A replacement can take care of the issue, but depending on your unique situation, you may be able to have the rotors ground down to an even thickness without the need for a replacement.

Reduced Responsiveness

If your car doesn’t stop like it should, there’s likely a problem. The trouble is, this problem usually comes on slowly, and you may not notice a difference in your day-to-day driving. Knowing how your brakes should feel is important when determining if the responsiveness of your system is compromised.

  • The pedal should feel firm when pushed.
  • It’s normal for the pedal to give a bit if you have power brakes.
  • Your brake pedal should never go all the way to the floor.
  • The pedal shouldn’t be extremely hard to push.

Brake Pads Look Worn

A lot of figuring out if there’s a problem with your brakes is paying attention to how they feel and sound, but you can also use your sense of sight to check your brake pads.

If you look between the spokes of your wheels, you can actually see your brake pads. Using a caliper, or even marking the depth of the pad with a straw, you can determine how thick your pad is. If it is less than 8.5 millimeters (after subtracting 5 millimeters for the backing plate), then it’s time for a replacement.

The Indicator Light Is On

The easiest way to tell if there’s a problem with your car is by looking at your dashboard. Unfortunately, knowing what all those symbols mean on your dash can be difficult!

There are multiple brake warning lights on your dashboard that you should pay attention to. A brake pad warning light is an empty circle with dashed lines on the sides, but you can also see warning lights for your anti-lock braking system, as well as brake hydraulic systems, and a press brake light that reminds you that the brakes need to be engaged in order for the vehicle to start.

Don’t spend time worrying about whether or not your brakes are working like they should. With the tips on this list, you can feel if your brakes are worn, you can hear if your brakes are worn, and you can see if your brakes are worn,so you can get the replacement you need when you need it.

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