Replacing your brakes is an unavoidable chore of vehicle ownership. It’s one of the parts of your car designed to wear out and be replaced. While we all know it’s looming in the future, sometimes it’s hard to identify when your brakes are on their way out. That’s why we’ve come up with 6 signs that your brakes need attention.
Dashboard Brake Warning Lights
If you have a newer model vehicle and the brake warning light on your dashboard lights up, you will definitely have brake problems. The usual cause for the dashboard warning light will be low brake fluid. It could be that fluid is low or there might be a leak in the line. We you take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. We can’t emphasize strongly enough that brake problems have to be addressed immediately.
This is a universal indicator in cars of any age, brakes that squeal when they’re not wet could be ill-adjusted or need replacement.
If you notice a grinding noise, the issue is far more serious. A grinding noise indicates something metallic is rubbing against your brake rotor. When this happens odds are you’ll not only need to replace the brake pads, but also the rotors. At this stage, your brake problems have become urgent and you need to see attention immediately.
If your car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, or it shakes or shudders when you brake reasonably hard, that’s an indication that there’s excessive wear on the brakes and they need to be replaced.
If your brake pedal feels spongy or soft, the main cause is that air has found its way into your brake system and your brakes can’t respond properly. Obviously this can cause an accident. Low brake fluid can also cause a spongy pedal, so check it first.
Newer vehicles with ABS, or anti-lock brake systems, are not supposed to swerve when you brake hard. The main indication of brake problems with ABS will be the lights on the dashboard. This warning shows that the sensors on the wheels have detected too many metal particles. When this happens, the ABS system will usually shut down, but your brakes will still work.
You can avoid most of these brake problems by taking your car in for regular maintenance. Check fluid levels regularly, and check the pads and rotors visually. In most cases, the pads should be replaced every 30,000 miles, depending on driving conditions in your area. Rotors will usually last much longer.