Brake Check! 6 Signs Your Brakes Need to be Serviced!
“Stop, Look, Listen…”
As a young child, we’re all taught to stop, look, and listen as the first rule of road safety. These three rules don’t apply to roadside safety alone, it’s a great rule of thumb to assess what’s going on under the hood of your vehicle as well. Brakes are the most important safety feature of your vehicle, ensuring that your vehicle comes to a full and complete stop every time. As the driver who knows your vehicle best, you will need to know what to look and listen for when it comes to assessing your brake performance.
Start with a visual inspection before you drive the vehicle, simply take a quick peek directly at the brakes located behind your tire. You can most often look between the spokes of the wheel to see your brake assembly. First you will see a large round piece of metal, this is the rotor. Attached to the rotor is the Caliper, which is the U-shaped part that squeezes the brake pad against the rotor. This is what causes the friction that stops your vehicle. The Brake pads of your car are attached to the Caliper and pressed against the rotor when your brakes are engaged. Even a small amount of rusting, cracking, pulsation, or scarring of the Rotors can lead the brakes to fail. If the Calipers aren’t functioning, any part is faulty, or if brake fluid cannot reach the Caliper, the vehicle will not stop properly.
Even a small amount of rusting, cracking, pulsation, or scarring of the Rotors can lead the brakes to fail. If the Calipers aren’t functioning, any part is faulty, or if brake fluid cannot reach the Caliper, the vehicle will not stop properly.
The visibility of your brake system will depend greatly on the make and model of your vehicle. Don’t get discouraged if you cannot easily see every part or the condition when you look through your tire. Sometimes what you hear can be far more valuable. A high pitched squealing noise is one of the most common complaints from drivers when they are having their Brakes inspected or serviced. This sound comes from a small piece of metal that is embedded in the Brake Pad, called an Indicator.
Brake pads wear down over time as they are pressed repeatedly against the metal of the rotors. The Indicator is placed within the Brake pad to ensure that when the pad wears down too far, the Indicator will scrape against the rotor, causing a squeal. There should be at least a 2 millimeters of pad remaining for enough contact to properly stop a vehicle. Glossy or overly worn Brake pads will not actively stop the vehicle. Squealing Brakes means that your pads have worn down and need to be serviced right away.
If you drive your vehicle daily, you know better than anyone what your vehicle normally feels like, and being attentive to it is a great way to avoid costly repairs down the road. Feel what your vehicle is doing while you drive it. If you feel pulling, grinding, or vibration from your brakes, it’s a great indication that you should have them serviced. Irregularities such as this can arise from Rotor warping which causes the Brake Pads to not make full contact with the Rotors and braking could be affected. Never leave Brake concerns to another day. The Brake System is the single most important safety feature of your vehicle and it should always be working properly.
If you have concerns with Brake noise or performance, go directly to your nearest Auto Repair shop and request an inspection. It’s important to quickly address these concerns and fix the brake issues to keep your vehicle running safely and smoothly.