How to Tell If You Need Brake Repair or Replacement
As a vehicle owner there are few repairs that are more important than properly monitoring your brakes. While replacing or repairing your brakes may sound about as fun as a Saturday afternoon at the dentist, it’s essential to your safety and could even mean the difference between life and death in the event of a sudden situation or accident out on the road.
In addition to the obvious signs that your brakes are in need of service, like the brake light on your dashboard being on or your car seeming to take longer to stop than usual, there are a wide variety of other signs to look for that indicate brake issues. Over time your brakes will wear out regardless of your driving style, so routine service inspections are always recommended. These are just a few of the most common signs that your vehicle needs the brakes repaired or even completely replaced.
- Unusual Sounds – If you’ve ever heard a high pitched screech when you’ve tried to apply your brakes, then there’s a good chance your brake pads were worn out. That sound is usually made by a metal shim, which is meant to warn you that your brake pads need to be replaced immediately.
- Visible Damage – Usually if you look between the tires and the wheel, you can see the brake pads and start to tell if they’re worn out. You can also spot visual grooves or marks on the rotor itself. These can take away from a vehicle’s ability to slow down and usually a rotor damaged in this way will need to be completely replaced.
- Reduced Responsiveness – If your brakes are not responding as they normally do or if your brake pedal feels like it’s sinking into the floor, this can be a signal that there’s a leak in the brake system. Either in the form of an air leak or a fluid leak. You can see a small puddle of fluid under the vehicle if it’s a brake fluid leak if your car is parked.
- Your Vehicle Pulls – When you press your brake, does your vehicle pull to one specific side? If so, there’s a good chance that the linings in your brakes are wearing down unevenly or that there’s something in the brake fluid that shouldn’t be there.
- An Unusual Vibration – If you feel a vibration or your brake pedal pulsating, that’s often a symptom of warped brake rotors (or maybe less drastically, that your vehicle needs an alignment). If your anti-lock brakes don’t work when braking and you feel a vibration, then there’s a really good chance that it’s a sign of warped brake rotors. Severe braking over long periods of time usually causes warped rotors because the friction that is created under extreme braking conditions will drastically heat the rotors and cause them to warp.
- A Bad Smell – If you begin to notice an awful smell coming from near your tires then it’s important to schedule a brake inspection with a trusted auto mechanic immediately. Any type of unusual and disgusting smell coming from your vehicle isn’t normal and needs to be inspected and diagnosed immediately. Let an auto mechanic determine what the issue is and if the smell is coming from near the tires, let them determine what part of the braking system is in need of repair.
If you notice any of these symptoms or your brake light coming on the dashboard, it’s import to immediately schedule an appointment with a mechanic for an inspection and to begin repairing or replacing your brakes. Driving with any of these warning signs is extremely unsafe and should be done only in extreme cases for limited amounts of time and with extensive caution. If you catch a brake issue early on or if you routinely have your vehicle inspected, it can be much easier and less expensive to maintain your brakes than waiting until you experience warning signs. Brake replacement can be a very costly process if your brakes go uninspected or any of these or other warning signs goes unnoticed or untreated, so be sure to take your vehicle in as soon as possible to minimize the internal damages as well as the damage to your wallet.