When it comes to car maintenance, a your brake check should never be put off. You must be sure your car will stop quickly and safely whenever you use your brakes.
It’s not only a matter of taking care of your vehicle but a vital step in protecting yourself, your passengers and everyone on the road.
We don’t recommend that you service your car’s brakes yourself, but learning how to recognise problems and getting familiar with the best practices to extend the life of your brakes system is something every car owner should do.
Having a yearly check-up can guarantee your brake system is functional and safe.
A new set of brake pads should last between 65,000 to 100,000 km, while a system that experiences more intense use may last only 30,000 to 40,000 km before needing replacement. Still, it’s important to remember that brake wear is not an exact science, as the type of vehicle you drive and how you drive should be taken into consideration.
That’s why it’s essential to have key warning signs in mind. Read below for five warming signs that indicate you need to get your brake system checked:
Noises like squealing, grinding or thumping are an indicator of a problem with brakes.
It’s possible that your brake pads have worn away, and that other parts of the system are damaged, or there might be an issue with the lining.
Unless you have just replaced them (in which case it’s common to hear a bit of squealing for a couple of days until they get smoother), take your car for a brake check-up as soon as possible!
If you start noticing vibrations or pulses when pressing the pedal, you may need to check if there’s a problem with the brake rotors.
That’s because when rotors become damaged, bent or warped, the brake pads won’t meet a smooth surface when applied, producing the vibration as a result. You may feel not only the pedal trembling but also your wheel or even your entire car.
One of the most obvious (and dangerous) signs that you need to check your brakes is when your vehicle takes longer than usual to come to a complete stop, which may cause you to unwillingly drive past intersections or experience close calls in traffic. If this happens, you possibly might have worn out your brake pads and need a professional to replace them.
They will also check the brake line to avoid benders in the new pieces.
If you find a puddle slightly different from the regular engine oil (more yellowish than brown), it is likely that your brake fluid is leaking.
This liquid helps your vehicle to stop properly, so managing its levels is extremely important. Consider a brake fluid leak an emergency. It’s so serious that you may have your car towed instead of being able to drive to the shop.
You get a “dragging brake” when one of your brake callipers starts to go bad and one of your brakes gets stuck in the engaged position.
As a result, the engine has to work harder to overcome the brake, which leads to poor gas mileage. This condition may cause wear and tear to the whole brake system, so you’d better have the brake calliper and rotor replaced before your car suffers extensive damage.
By doing regular check-ups and keeping an eye on these signs, you are likely to get the best out of your brakes and avoid an expensive emergency bill at the shop.
It’s important to remember that you can also increase the lifetime of your brakes system by reducing your driving speed, as it avoids unnecessary heavy braking.