Are Your Brakes Failing?…
From approaching a stop sign to reacting when another car suddenly drifts into your lane, you rely on your brakes each time you get behind the wheel of your car. Your vehicle’s brake system is made up of multiple parts, including brake pads, shoes, drums, and rotors. The materials of these parts can wear down over time. The wear and tear of these parts is why brake servicing is one of those routine maintenance services that you cannot put off or ignore.
WHAT ARE BRAKE PADS?
Brake pads are a key part of your vehicle’s brake system; they sit between your brake shoe (the part that clamps down, slowing the tires’ rotation) and your brake drum. Without functioning brake pads, other elements of your vehicle, such as the discs, rotors, and calipers will begin to wear away. Maintaining effective brake pads is important to avoiding very pricy repairs as well as unsafe driving conditions. That’s why it’s important to be able to identify when to replace your vehicle’s old brake pads.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BRAKE PADS WEAR DOWN?
Every time you engage your vehicle’s brakes, you are causing minute amounts of wear and tear on your brake pads. For each type of brake pads, ceramic, organic, and metallic, this friction causes small amounts of protective coating to wear away from the brake pad. Over time, this deterioration starts to add up: as your brake pads becomes thinner and thinner, they will eventually get to the point where they should be replaced.
Fortunately, your vehicle provides you with some clear signals that your brakes are due for repair. Paying attention to those warning signs that indicate a need for service can mean the difference between life and death on the road. Of course, there are some obvious signs that your brakes need servicing, such as the brake light appearing on your car’s dashboard or the feeling that your vehicle is taking longer to stop than it should. But do you know what the other signs are that could indicate an ailing brake system?
Here’s the signs it’s time for a brake inspection:
- Longer stopping distances
- Pedal feels soft or spongy underfoot
- Brake light or ABS light comes on while braking
- Low brake fluid, which could be a sign there is a leak somewhere, or that your brake pads have worn down
- Vehicle pulls to one side or the other while braking, and is hard to control
- Pulsation or shudder through the brake pedal while braking
- Tendency for one or more wheels to lock up and skid while braking
- Excessive brake pedal travel, with the pedal going almost to the floor before brakes engage
- Pulsation or shudder through the steering wheel while braking
- Squealing, groaning, or metallic grinding noise while braking
Of these, the metal-to-metal grinding noise is by far the worst. It means the friction material of your brake pads has worn to a point where the rivets that hold them to the steel backing plate are exposed. Your only braking ability comes from metal-to-metal contact, and the rivets are quickly digging deep grooves into the rotors. Not only will your badly-scored rotors need to be replaced (doubling the cost of the brake job), but you’re also driving a very dangerous vehicle.
It is vital that your brakes are always working properly. If you notice any of these signs mentioned above, it is crucial that you bring your car in right away to be inspected. Remember, your brakes are an important part of your car and any sign of trouble should be immediately addressed. It could literally mean the difference between life and death.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.