How to know if you need brakes?

Every time you press on that pedal you always start wondering without taking your car to the local mechanic whether or not your vehicle needs brakes. If you know your driving habits and the vehicle you can make a guess on when you’re due for replacement. Being 100 percent sure involves bringing your car in for a brake inspection. There are signs that come up that could advise you that the brakes are getting low and require attention. If someone has used low quality pads that are made of a hard material the pad might not wear like an OEM pad. This is also not good when it comes to braking distance as it extends the over braking stopping length. Using a premium OEM style material pad will ensure quality braking. Spending slightly more to get quality parts goes a long way. Here are a few indications of what to look for:

Brake Pedal feel

The feel of the pedal is a good indication of what is going on in your braking system. Something to feel for is a low pedal, spongy pedal, and just an overall feeling of the car not stopping up to its capabilities. Don’t ignore that pedal, as it may be just trying to tell you something is worn and requires an inspection. In some cases you might find the pedal vibrating, this may be a sign that the brake rotors are warped. Bring it in for an inspection and get a complete check of your vehicle’s braking system.

Noise

A noise is also a good indication that the brakes are requiring attention and you might be getting to that point of replacement. The high pitch squealing noise is usually the first sign of brakes that require attention. The noise might just need a brake service due to harsh Ontario conditions in the winter. Servicing the brakes will help to eliminate noise and provide you with efficient braking power. The brakes have a metal squealer that will advise you when the brake are needing replacement.

Brake Dust

If you see a rim that has an unusual amount of brake dust this wheel can be telling you something is failing. The brakes could be wearing out at a faster rate then the rest of the wheels and could be a possible issue with seizing parts. An inspection can indicate if the wheel is truly seizing and what part is causing the brakes to wear prematurely. Seizing wheels can lead to more damage of other parts and also cause the vehicle to pull to one side.

Unusual burning smell

Always follow your noise. This is true with brakes as well, if a caliper seized for example it will start to get hot and over heat. The overheat will then give a distinctive smell that would indicate to the occupants of the vehicle there is a problem. If there is a smell, pull over somewhere safe to walk around the vehicle and pinpoint the origin of the problem. An indication of an issue in one of the wheels would be if one of the wheels is excessively hot compared to the rest. It is a good idea to tow the vehicle as an overheated brake component could lead to a fire hazard.

Brake light

Some modern vehicles may exhibit a sign that it is time to change the brakes by illuminating a light. In most cases the brakes will have a brake pad sensor that when worn to the low point it will illuminate the brake replacement indicator. On other cars as the brake fluid drops as your brakes wear down it may trigger a brake light. This is an indication that the brakes need immediate attention and should not be ignored.

These are just a few signs to look out for when dealing with your braking system. The best way to avoid guessing is to have your vehicle checked periodically to ensure any issue is caught before turning into a bigger problem. If you take your vehicle to a garage that has a licensed mechanic present, ask him to take a quick visual look through the wheels to see if you are due for brake replacement. Regular inspections will keep you updated on the progress of wear and help you determine the right time for replacement.

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