It could be argued that brakes are your car’s most important feature. For instance, it might not be as much fun to accelerate if you weren’t so sure you could stop afterward. So, making sure your brakes are kept in top shape is probably one of the smartest things you can do as a vehicle owner. But, how do you know when it’s time to have your brakes checked?
Having regular, scheduled maintenance performed on your vehicle – including tune-ups – is a great first step. A qualified service center will generally keep tabs on your vehicles health whenever you bring it in. However, in between service visits, your car may be giving you signals that your brakes are having issues.
SOUNDS - The most obvious signal that your brakes need to be inspected comes from simply listening. If strange sounds are happening while you’re applying the brakes, it may be time to call your mechanic. One of the warning signs that your brakes need servicing can come from a small indicator in your braking system that emits a high-pitched squeal when your pads need replacing. This sound is pretty obvious and it is loud enough to be heard even when the windows are up.
Now, some minor brake noise is considered normal and can be caused by severe braking, dusty or sandy conditions, or even humidity. However, louder squeals, rumbles, and other severe noises should definitely not be ignored. If your brakes are talking to you every time you use them, schedule an appointment to see your mechanic.
PULLING - Another indicator that something may be going on with your brake system is if your vehicle starts to pull to one side when you apply the brakes. The usual cause of this symptom is contamination on the braking surface or a malfunctioning caliper. Although pulling doesn't always indicate a problem with the brakes, if your car feels like it has a mind of its own, it’s not going to be a bad idea to have it checked out.
VIBRATIONS - If you’re feeling vibrations when braking, that’s yet another clue you may need some brake work done. Generally, a vibrating brake pedal indicates warped rotors. Their uneven surfaces will thrum against the brake pads, and you'll feel the feedback when you’re trying to stop. This can vary from a slight shaking to a quite severe shuddering, depending on the severity of the condition. Either way, it warrants an inspection.
BRAKE PEDAL ISSUES - A mushy pedal could indicate worn pads or a problem with the hydraulic system, such as air in the line, an air leak or a brake fluid leak. Worn pads/shoes can cause this as the caliper pistons have to move to the nearly full extent of safe travel. If a brake pedal feels spongy, air could have found its way into the hydraulic system. Air pockets prevent the fluid from flowing properly. A low brake pedal that has to be pumped repeatedly to bring a vehicle to a stop may be due to a low fluid level or drum brakes that need adjustment. Any changes in the pressure and feel of your brake pedal should be examined by qualified service center.
Although the above list of warning signs isn’t extensive, they are grounds to have your brakes looked at soon. Never put off brake work. If your brakes fail, you (and other people) may be in serious trouble.
STOP BY - We have a team of dedicated service personnel on site that would be more than glad to take a look at your brake system. If you think it’s time to have your brakes checked, and especially if your vehicle is exhibiting any of the above issues, visit us online, give us a call, or simply stop by, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment and make sure your vehicle is operating safely.