When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, there are a lot of parts you should keep an eye on, including exhaust systems and radiators. But what about your brakes? While you might have a litany of excuses, ranging from a busy schedule to high brake pads replacement costs, don’t forget that your brakes are vital to your safety, as well as the safety of whoever may be in the car with you. For this reason, if you notice any of the signs below, you should have your brakes checked by a mechanic immediately.
One of the best ways to see if its time to pay those brake pads replacement costs is to look at the pads themselves: simply look between the spokes of your wheels for the metal rotor inside. Around the outer edge, you should also see a metal caliper. The brake pad is located between these two parts, and should be at least a quarter of an inch thick. If it is any thinner, it should be replaced. If you notice that your brake rotors are pitted or scratched while you are inspecting the brake pads, they should also be replaced.
(Some car tires may not allow you to see the brake pad and rotor. In this case, you will need to remove the tire to check your car brake parts)
Do you hear a high-pitched squealing noise when you use your brakes? How about a harsh grinding sound? Both are signs that your brake pads need replacing, but the latter is especially serious: that grinding noise means you have worn through your brake pads, which might make it difficult to stop your car and could also damage your rotors. In this case, schedule a brake pad replacement immediately.
If your car feels like it is angling in one direction when you drive or steer, there might be a problem with your brakes. While the pulling could be caused by unevenly inflated or worn tires, it could also be a sign of a stuck caliper, a collapsed brake hose, or uneven brake pads. For this reason, if you notice this sign, you should head to the closest mechanic’s shop.
While it is fairly normal to feel your car shudder when you brake suddenly, you should not feel vibrating when executing a normal stop. If you notice this phenomenon, you may have warped rotors, a common problem if you regularly drive in steep mountainous areas or frequently stop while towing heavy objects, as warping is caused by stress. This could also be a sign of misaligned wheels.
A Problematic Pedal
If your brake pedal goes almost all the way down to the floor when you try to stop or slow, you may have worn pedals or a problem with the hydraulic system, such as an air or brake fluid leak. Conversely, if your pedal grabs immediately when you brake, you may have an unevenly worn rotor, dirty brake fluid or moisture contamination. Finally, if your car is skidding and having difficulty stopping, you may have a brake line obstruction or a problem with the vacuum system. All of these issues require further inspection of your car, and possibly the help of a mechanic.
Do you notice any of these signs? Could it be time for a brake pad or rotor replacement? If so, prepare to pay those brake pads replacement costs to ensure the safety of your vehicle.