The last place you want to be when your brakes go out is behind the wheel of your car.
Brakes can last up to 70,000 miles for some car owners while others have to replace theirs after only 25,000 miles. The wear and tear on your brakes depends on your driving style, driving conditions and the quality of the parts and installation.
How can you tell if your vehicle’s brakes are at the end of their useful life? Here are six of the top signs your car needs new brakes:
1. You Hear a Screeching Sound
You’ve probably heard the high pitched screech of brakes before - the traditional sign that your brake pads are wearing out. The screeching means your pads have worn down to the metal, and you need to make an appointment with us!
At times you might hear this screeching, usually after a rainstorm. When brakes get wet, a layer of rust can form on the rotors, which will cause a squeal when they’re used. After a few taps on the brakes while driving, the rust should wear off. If the screeching continues, call us.
2. The Pads Are Visibly Worn
You can also take a quick look inside the spokes of your wheel to get an idea of how much brake pad you have left. You’ll find your brake pad on the outside edge of the shiny metal rotor.
Without taking the tire off, you’ll only be able to estimate, but you want your pad to be a thickness of at least one-quarter inch. If you look inside and they're thinner than that, you probably need to get them checked out or replaced.
3. Grinding Is Getting Worse
If you get to the point where you hear a horrendous metallic grinding, it means you’ve completely worn your brake pads down. This is one of the worst sounds you can hear when it comes to brakes.
It means that the two pieces of metal in your braking system, the caliper and the rotor, are touching when you apply the brakes. This can scratch the rotor and potentially ruin them. To avoid costly replacements, we recommend not letting your brakes get this bad. If they do, bring your vehicle in immediately!
4. Brakes Feel Less Responsive
There are few experiences more unsettling than when you press down on your brake pedal and your car doesn’t respond right away. If you ever notice your brakes are taking too long to respond, stop driving and come to Living the Dream Auto Care.
Besides expiring brake pads, another cause for unresponsive braking could be a fluid leak. Call our team right away and we’ll give you safety-conscious helpful advice for what to do next.
5. They Pull to One Side
When applying the brakes, it’s possible you could feel a slight pull in either direction. This is a sign that something may be amiss with the brake linings, or that there is something foreign in your brake fluid. It also could indicate you have warped brake rotors. You’ll likely need to come in to refresh your brake fluid or replace worn-out parts.
6. There Are Strong Vibrations
Braking vibrations aren’t “good vibrations.” If you feel a pulsing in your brake pedal, it’s possible you have warped brake rotors. If you’ve been towing something or braking on steep slopes, the extra friction can cause the rotors to heat and then bend. That vibration you feel is because the brake pads aren’t always in contact with the rotor when you apply the brakes - a definite problem.
Don’t Mess With Bad Brakes
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your brakes inspected and the miles are piling up, we’d be happy to get you on our schedule here at Living the Dream Auto Care. Book an appointment now!