Category Archives: replacing brakes

When does my car need new brakes?

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car mechanic working on car with bad brakesWinter roads can be hazardous enough even in the best of situations.  Trying to drive a car with failing brakes on icy roads can be like trying to stop on a skating rink.  That’s why a car owner needs to be on alert watching (and listening!) for signs they need new brakes—before they’re skating down the road with brakes that don’t work.

A soft pedal

One of our friends had a scary experience with this sign of failing brakes.  She tried to stop at a stop sign…and didn’t.  Instead, the pedal of her van went to the floor and she went right through the intersection.  Luckily, she wasn’t hurt, but it is a valuable lesson for all car owners.  If your pedal feels soft, or goes down to the floor when you press it, it’s time to head to your local mechanic for new brakes.

Pulling to the right or left when braking

You may not think much of this sign of failing brakes; it can mean that your car needs an alignment.  A car that pulls to the left or right can also be caused by uneven worn pads, a broken brake hose, or a stuck brake caliper.  For a diagnosis, and an end to that annoying pull, schedule an appointment to stay straight on the road.

Vibrations

If you feel a vibration in your steering wheel when braking, there are a few different reasons your car could be vibrating.  One of those reasons is an unevenly worn brake rotor in the front or rear; your mechanic can tell you exactly which it the problem is.

High pitched squealing & strange sounds

Do people stare when you hit the brakes?  Worn brakes can make a squealing sound when it’s time for replacement.  The squealing is a built-in warning sign so you can head to the mechanic before your brakes are ready for replacements.  Remember, not all brakes make a squealing.  Some brakes are built to make a chattering or grinding sound when worn—not sounds you want to hear too long before you head in for a brake replacement.