Bad brakes got you down? No driver wants to deal with ineffective brakes or brake failure, so it’s smart to keep an eye out for earlier signs you may need to get a brake repair service on your calendar. These signs may be noticeable while driving, but it’s also a good idea to do regular visual checks of your brake pads and rotors to ensure you stay ahead of necessary brake services. We have three key ways to tell if your brakes are becoming a bit worse for the wear so you can get your car to a mechanic before you run into brake trouble.
Pay Attention to Symptoms While Braking
When you apply your brakes, there should be no squeaking or grinding and you also shouldn’t notice a difference in how your car moves, aside from slowing down. Any strange sounds or a pulsing sensation from your car while braking is a good indication that there’s a necessary brake repair that should be handled by a trusted mechanic. The same goes for strange smells like burning while braking, which can indicate overuse and may mean you need new brake pads. Luckily, when caught early, most brake repairs are simple for your mechanic to take care of.
Squeaking or Grinding Brakes Indicate Worn Brake Pads
The most common indicator of worn brakes is a squeaking or grinding sound when braking. Modern brake pads are manufactured with indicators to signal they’re near over-worn. When this indicator makes contact with your rotors as you press the brake pedal, it will make a squeaking sound. No damage is being done to your rotors at this point, but it means you should get your brake pads replaced soon. If it changes to a grinding sound when applying your brakes, there’s damage being done to your rotors because your brake pads are over-worn and there’s metal-on-metal contact.
Take Note of Changes in How Your Brake Pedal Feels
With healthy brakes, your brake pedal should feel firm and should not have to be pressed too far down toward the floor of your car. It should feel easy to bring your car to a stop, rather than feeling like you need to apply extra pressure just for your brakes to feel effective enough. A brake pedal that feels soft, spongey, or otherwise less effective than it used to is a sure sign you should schedule a brake service.
A Soft or Over-Depressed Brake Pedal Indicates Brake Problems
One possibility when your brake pedal feels soft or spongey is that you have air in your brake fluid line. The way to fix this is to bleed the line and top off brake fluid if necessary. However, your mechanic should easily be able to inspect your brake system to see if this is your problem and get it fixed so you can easily bring your car to a stop again.
Do a Visual Check of Your Brake Pads and Rotors
Finally, the best way to judge whether your brakes are wearing out and to stay proactive about brake repairs is to do regular visual checks. Walk over and look closely at your brake pads and rotors – and while you’re down there, check for any signs of leaks from your brake fluid lines. Take note of any parts that look worn or where leaks are coming from so you can let your mechanic know at your brake repair appointment.
Too-Thin Brake Pads or Rotors with Ridges Need to Be Replaced
Pay attention to the thickness of your brake pads and whether you see a ridge or rim around the edge of your rotors. Your brake pads should not become thinner than 3-4mm in thickness. Anything thinner than that and you risk your brake pads becoming over-worn, potentially causing damage to your rotors and making it difficult to bring your car to a stop. If you see a ridge around the outer edge of your rotors, it’s a good indication they’ll have to be replaced, too. The good news is that these replacements are simple for your mechanic to do.
Time for a Brake Repair? Come to Your Nearest AAMCO Auto Repair Shop
When it comes to your brakes, your better safe than sorry. If you notice any signs there may be a brake repair in your near future, don’t ignore them. The mechanics at your local AAMCO in Boardman, OH location are here to help get you safely back on the road with brakes that feel like new. Schedule your appointment with us online today!