Brakes are the single most important component on your car – and they don’t last forever.
Failing to maintain your brakes can lead to permanent damage to your car, or dangerous situations if your brakes fail entirely while you’re on the road.
However, it can sometimes be hard to tell when your brakes need servicing, especially if you’re driving a somewhat older used car. So Ride Time is here to break things down for you. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 signs that your car’s brakes may need maintenance – or could be failing altogether.
Read this list, and stay safe on the road.
1. Loud Screeching When You Hit The Brakes
Before we get into this topic, let’s briefly discuss brake basics. Your brakes have two primary components – the brake pad, and the brake rotor. When you apply pressure to your brake pedal, the brake pad is pressed against the brake rotor. This increases the friction on your wheels, and slows you down.
Brake pads are usually made out of metal or ceramic shavings held together with resin, and they’re softer than brake rotors. This means that, as you continue to apply your brakes, the brake pads on your car will be worn down. Because of this, brake pads must be changed every 40,000-100,000 km, depending on your car.
Luckily, your brake pads have a built-in warning system to tell you when they need to be replaced. As you car’s brake pads wear down, you may start to hear some screeching noises when you apply the brakes. If this happens, your brake pads are worn out, exposing an indicator shim that’s built into the pad.
You’ll want to get your car’s brake pads replaced right away, otherwise you could risk damaging your brake rotors, and you’ll have to pay for an expensive repair.
2. Poor Responsiveness When Braking
If your brake pedal doesn’t respond well to braking, that’s a sure sign of a leak somewhere in your hydraulic system. When there’s a leak in the system, you won’t get good braking performance, and the brake pedal will often feel “soft”, and won’t respond well to your input.
This can be caused by an air leak in the brake hose, or by a leak of hydraulic brake fluid. Either way, you’ll want to get your car serviced immediately – and if the brakes are performing poorly, you should consider getting it towed, rather than driving it. Reduced brake responsiveness can be extremely dangerous, especially when driving at high speeds.
3. Vehicle Is Pulling To One Side While Braking
If you notice your car pulling to one side when you brake, there are two things that could be happening.
- Misaligned tires can often cause your car to pull to one side while braking. Over time, the brake pads on misaligned tires wear unevenly. The brake pad on the misaligned tire will wear down quickly, while the other brake pads will wear down at a normal rate. This will lead to lower braking efficiency in the more-worn, misaligned tire, and cause one side of your car to slow down more quickly than the other – leading to the “pulling” effect that happens when braking.If your car also tends to “drift” when you take your hands off the wheel, you probably have a tire misalignment, and should get your car inspected and have your wheels aligned correctly.
- Foreign materials in brake fluid can be another cause of this “pulling” effect. If debris gets into your hydraulic system, it can compromise braking pressure in the affected braking system, causing uneven braking. If your car is pulling while braking, but doesn’t have a tendency to pull while driving, you could have some kind of debris in your hydraulic system. Regardless of the cause, you should take your car in to be serviced if you notice these issues. Foreign materials in brake fluid can damage your car, and misaligned tires can lead to poor brake performance, premature tire wear, and a host of other issues.
4. Loud, Scary Grinding Noises While Braking
If you hear really loud grinding noises while braking, stop driving your car immediately. These noises indicate that your brake pad has worn completely down to bare metal, and that this metal is making direct contact with your brake rotor.
This can cause extreme damage to the metal of the brake rotor, which may need to be “turned” by a specialized machine to even it out, or may even require a full replacement. Both of these repairs can be very expensive – and can be avoided if you replace your brake pads regularly.
5.Your Car Vibrates When The Brakes Are Applied
If your car vibrates excessively when you apply the brakes, your rotors are probably warped.Warped rotors can be caused by extensive periods of uninterrupted braking. This heat causes the rotors to wear unevenly against the brake pad, and can warp them permanently. The vibration is caused by the brake pads making uneven contact with the rotors.
This uneven contact with the brake pad reduces the efficiency of your braking system, and causes vibration due to the pad “bumping” against the surface of the rotor where it can’t get an even, solid hold on the metal material.
If you suspect your car has warped rotors, you should get your brakes inspected by a professional right away.
Come To Ride Time For All Your Brake Servicing Needs!
Do you need to get your brakes serviced? Ride Time’s new Winnipeg location features 8 service bays, and our specialized automotive technicians would be happy to take a look at your car, and give you expert advice on the health of your braking systems.
Don’t take a risk by driving with worn-out brakes. You could seriously damage your car, or even get in an accident that could have been avoided with proper brake maintenance.
If your car has any of these signs that your brakes may need to be maintained, come to Ride Time today. We’ll make sure that your car is totally safe before you head back out on the road – and give you valuable peace of mind.