9 Early Warning Signs You Need New Brakes
Generally, your car’s brake pads should be replaced every 25,000 to 65,000 miles, while your rotors should be replaced between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. However, the exact figure can vary depending on your terrain, weather conditions, and driving style. Fortunately, it’s likely you’ll only experience minor symptoms when your car’s brake pads reach their end of life, making diagnosis and repairs easy. Nevertheless, if you’re unsure if it’s time to change your brakes, here are nine common signs you should pay attention to.
A visual inspection is one way to check the condition of your car’s brake pads. You can see them between the wheels’ spokes, pressed against the metal rotors. If you see that the pads are less than a quarter-inch thick, then it may be time to have them inspected or replaced.
If you notice a high-pitched screeching sound when you press the brake pedal, there’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t indicate that your brakes will give out any minute. Instead, the squealing noise comes from a piece of metal purposefully built into the brake pads. It’s intended to warn you that the brake pads are getting thin and will need to be replaced soon. So, if you do hear that high-pitched grating or whining noise coming from your wheels, make an appointment with the service center soon.
Screeching Despite New Pads
However, loud noises coming from your car’s brakes don’t always mean you need to replace them with new ones. Another cause of strange sounds from your vehicle’s brakes may indicate that the rotors are glazed. This is caused by excessive braking that causes the metal to heat up and burn. Take a closer look; if you see blue marks or a dark ring on your rotors, they may need to be replaced.
Slow Stopping Response
Sometimes when you need to stop quickly, you may feel that your braking system isn’t stopping the car fast enough or it’s not as responsive as it should be. These might be signs of a leak in your car’s braking system. It may also result from applying the brakes over a long distance without bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. As a result, the brake pads and rotors are forced to make contact for long periods, and heat builds up. Eventually, their ability to generate the friction needed to stop the vehicle reduces over time.
Brake Pedal Vibration
When your brakes are in good working order, your car will smoothly roll to a stop. But when your brake pads are worn or the rotors become damaged, they can send vibrations throughout your car. If the car shakes or the steering wheel vibrates when you brake but stops when you release the brake pedal, it’s time to have your brakes serviced.
Extremely Sensitive or Insensitive Brakes
You may have been startled by your braking system suddenly jerking your vehicle to a stop at the gentlest touch. It may indicate that your rotors have worn down unevenly or that you need to replace your brake fluid. Either way, it’s a sign that you need to have your car serviced.
On the other hand, if you have to push the pedal nearly to the car’s floor to get your brakes to engage, that’s also a problem. It might signal that there’s air in your brake fluid, your vehicle has low brake fluid, or the brake pads are too thin. It may also be a sign that there’s an issue in your car’s hydraulic system. Take your vehicle to the mechanic immediately so they can diagnose the problem correctly.
Another way to determine if your brake system leaks fluid is to check under your car. You may notice a small puddle of fluid after your car has been parked for a while. It might be the brake fluid if it looks similar to fresh motor oil but isn’t as slimy.
Heavy Grinding Sound
If you missed the screeching reminder that your car’s brake pads are thin, you might soon notice an even worse sound. A heavy metallic growling or grinding noise signifies that your pads have completely worn down. Unfortunately, replacement is out of the question at this late stage, as the grinding sound comes from the metal plate that rubs against the rotor. In a short amount of time, this can scratch your rotors or even melt the metal together and cause the brakes to stick. It has become a safety hazard that needs to be addressed immediately.
Pulling To One Side
Do you feel like there’s some invisible force pulling your vehicle to one side while you press your brake pedal? It might signify that the car’s brake lining is wearing unevenly and needs an adjustment. It could also indicate some foreign matter in your brake fluid, which means you should get the fluid drained and replaced.
What Happens When You Drive With Worn Brakes?
Here are three problems that can result from driving with worn brakes:
Slow Response Time
The more worn down your brakes become, the harder it can be for them to slow your vehicle, depending on how the pad wears. If it’s becoming more difficult to brake, your brakes may be worn, and paying attention to their response time is essential. Get your car to the service center and replace your brake pads to prevent a potential car accident.
Damage to Your Car’s Tires
Driving with worn brakes can actually wear down your tires too. With that slower response time mentioned above, you may end up slamming on your car’s brakes more often just to stop in time. Hard braking takes a toll on your tires. It can wear down your tires quicker or cause them to be unbalanced, leading to uneven tire wear.
Further Damage to Your Braking System
Your car’s brakes are a closely connected system of moving parts. When one component is damaged, the problems can trickle down into other elements. If your brake pads are worn down to a certain point, you risk damaging your rotors. If your pads are excessively worn, exposed metal on the pads grinds against the rotors every time you brake. This grinding metal produces excess heat that can crack or warp the rotors. Eventually, it damages your entire brake system, leading to even more extensive repairs down the road.
Get Your Brakes Serviced at Performance Honda
To ensure you’re never driving on worn brake pads, drive responsibly and avoid habits that can damage the brake pads. A good driving habit can keep your brakes — and the rest of your vehicle — in good condition for miles to come. In addition, make sure you prioritize preventive maintenance for your car. Brake checks, oil changes, and other routine appointments are much more affordable than extensive repairs. Stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance with Performance Honda, and we’ll help you avoid expensive and preventable repairs. Reach out to us today by giving us a call at (513) 829-6900 and let us schedule your brake service appointment.