Car ?'s- How Do I Know My Brakes Need Work?

September 15th, 2014 by

Brake Diagram
 

Know Your Vehicle’s Brakes

Everyone who drives knows how important a car’s brakes are. Despite that fact, brake pads are one of the most often overlooked parts of a vehicle. They require routine checks to make sure they are in good shape and still able to do their job. Forgetting to keep track of your brake pads condition can lead to unsafe driving conditions for everyone in your car, as well as more expensive repairs down the road relative to the cost of simply replacing the brake pads.
You can check out another one of our posts for a quick overview of a brake and how it works, but it’s a simple mechanism that squeezes a wheel’s rotor with a brake pad to slow and stop the wheel. Obviously, this task will have a toll on the components, mostly the brake pads. They’re made of a softer metal so rather than each wearing down, the wear will be focused on the pad.

Some Brake Issues That Can Come Up

It’s important to check how your brake pads look regularly just to keep tabs on them, luckily, this is a simple task. All you need to do is look through the rim at the brake caliber and identify the pad, it will be very shiny. Generally the pad should be at least a quarter inch thick. If its less than that, schedule a replacement soon to prevent damage to the rotor which can occur if the pad wears completely. If you notice the pad is not completely smooth and has any imperfections, such as grooves of holes, it would also be a good idea to replace them.5-signs-brakes-3
If you don’t get a chance to check on the brake pads for whatever reason, there are also systems in place to keep tabs on the pad. Pads are equipped with a small metal indicator that will emit a squealing noise when the pad is wearing too thin and should be replaced. If you’re hearing a high pitched screech when you apply your brakes, its probably time for a new pad. You also might notice a grinding sound when you apply the brakes, that’s no good either and means you could need more expensive repairs if you don’t replace the brake pads immediately.
There are other less common indications of brake issues as well. Do you notice any vibration when you apply the brakes? In an emergency situation where you’re braking are and ABS takes over, pulsing of the brake is normal. If you feel the brake vibrating or pulsing in common situation though, it may indicate a warped rotor. This can happen from extended hard braking, such as in a towing situation, where the rotor heats up an unusual amount. If you haven’t been in a situation putting added pressure on you brakes, your wheels being out of alignment could also cause this.
If your vehicle feels like it is pulling one way or another, it could be an imbalance with you braking system. This is likely caused by one of the brakes being stuck more closed than ordinary. This means the brakes are being applied more strongly to one side than the other, causing the pulling. This could also be caused by unevenly worn brake pads or an issue with the brake hoses not evenly manipulating the brakes. Pulling to one side isn’t an issue with the brakes 100% of the time, it could also have to do with uneven tire wear, tire inflation, or the vehicle’s suspension. Best practice is to check with your local mechanic to find exactly the issue.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of issues that can come up with your vehicle’s braking system. The brake fluid needs to be monitored as well as the state of the hoses for air in the, which can cause “squishy” brakes. These are the most common issues, just to give you an idea or a starting point if you are experiencing any issue with you brakes. If you are, come on into Fisher Auto or your local mechanic to get to the root of the problem because braking issues are not to be taken lightly.