Maintaining your brakes is an important safety factor for every car owner. If you need to stop quickly, it is vital that your braking system is working properly. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs that your brakes might need to be repaired or replaced.
Brakes Squeaking or Grinding
If you notice your brakes are squeaking or grinding when you put your foot on the brake, you might need to have your brake pads replaced. This is one of the earliest warning signs, and one of the easiest to detect. There is a high-pitched squeal that comes from the braking system when the pads have worn out. Brake pads typically last up to 70,000 miles, but they should at least last 30,000 miles.
If you noticed your vehicle pulsates when you try to come to an emergency stop, you might need to have your rotors replaced. The anti-locking brakes typically grab the system and apply it to the rotor, but doing it continually over time will warp it. The pulsating in the brake pedal damage the rotor. It tends to happen when they have extreme stress like when you are driving down a steep hill. It can also happen if you tow heavy trailers often or make frequent stops. The friction creates a lot of heat that changes the shape of the rotor metal. Generally, these need to be replaced if they are warped but sometimes they can be resurfaced.
Pulling to One Side
When your car starts veering to the right or left when you apply your brakes, you might have uneven pads or a collapsed brake hose. This prevents a caliper from engaging and causes the car to veer to one side. If you have a stuck caliper, you might need to get them replaced. However, pulling can also be a sign of damaged tires.
Sticky Brake Pedal
When your brakes stop the vehicle dramatically at even the lightest touch, it could be a malfunction of the brake pedal or that the rotors are worn unevenly. It could also mean that the brake fluid is contaminated. The repairs are often inexpensive, depending on the cause.
Sloppy Brake Pedal
If you have to slam your foot to the ground every time, you might have an issue with the hydraulic system. If it fails altogether, you are reliant on your emergency brake. Brake line problems are dangerous and should be checked by a professional.
It’s important to get your brakes checked every six months when you rotate your tires.