Every car has a different braking system for stopping—a different set up with brake pads, calipers, rotors, drums, etc. No matter what kind of braking system your car uses, the one key thing you need to know about your car’s braking system is that it’s important—really, really important. That’s why you shouldn’t mess around when your car shows signs that it’s time to schedule an appointment and get those brake pads, rotors or any other part of your braking system replaced:
- It’s normal for brakes to make occasional squeaking sounds when they get wet. If the squeak doesn’t go away, your brake pads are wearing down and are letting you know it by squealing. The squealing sound is actually a warning indicator built in by the manufacturer just to let you know that it’s time to get them replaced. If you don’t get your brakes looked it, and possibly replaced, brake failure is inevitable—leaving you in the midst of an accident you caused or in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.
- Grinding or growling. A grinding noise that goes away when you press the brakes signals trouble. If your brakes are grinding, the pads are worn all the way down, meaning that metal is rubbing on metal. Said simply, you have no more brake pad to stop your car. Don’t hesitate. Contact your mechanic and set up an appointment as soon as possible.
- It takes longer to stop. Are your brakes not as responsive as they used to be? Does it seem like it took longer to stop? If your car is not stopping quickly, your pedal goes to the floor or feels softer than it used to, schedule an appointment to get your brakes checked.
- Your car pulls to one side. If your car pulls to one side when braking, this does not mean your brakes are necessarily the culprit. There are other car problems, such as a vehicle that needs an alignment, which could be the cause. Schedule an appointment with your mechanic to get a diagnosis and a cure. A car in need of brakes or an alignment is a car that needs attention.
- A pulsating brake pedal. Does your brake pedal vibrate when you touch it? Are you getting a weird pulsating sensation from your brake pedal? Contact your mechanic to find out if your brake rotors are warped and need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast amount of mileage or time that you can use to determine when you need to get your brakes replaced. The life of your brakes is dependent upon driving style and road conditions. Be vigilant. When your car gives you any of these signals or leaks brake fluid, schedule an appointment. If your brake warning light comes on, CALL FOR A TOW. Do not drive your car to the mechanic. You don’t want your brakes to fail, and jeopardize your safety, and the safety of your passengers or end up in a ditch. Your car brakes are that important.