You may not often think about your car’s brakes, but they are one of the parts that must always be in excellent working condition. Right now, you might be asking yourself ‘when do I know when to change my car brakes?’. This article seeks to answer that question.
Stop, Look and Listen
The three steps to check for wear on the disc brakes are: stopping, looking and listening. First of all, stop and look at the brake pads through the spaces between the wheel spokes. You will see that the outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. In general, there must be at least ¼ inch of pad, so if there is less than ¼ inch of pad, have your brake pads checked or replaced right away by a reliable auto technician.
Listening very carefully each time you drive will also give you a clue whether or not your brakes need replacement. If there is a high-pitched screeching sound produced each time you apply your brakes, that calls for a professional car checkup. However, one exemption is if your car has been sitting after exposure to water, such as from rain or from washing it. The moisture causes the development of a thin rust layer on the brake rotors. Normally, when the brakes are first applied, the pads pressing on the rust-covered rotors may cause a squeal for a few stops until the rust wears off and then the sound eventually disappears.
Fading or Reduced Responsiveness
If you notice that your brakes are not responsive as they used to be or if the pedal sinks toward the floor, it could signify a leak in the braking system. It could be a brake fluid or brake hose leak. One of the common symptoms of a brake fluid leak is the presence of a small puddle of fluid when the car is parked. Brake fluid resembles fresh motor oil, only that it has a less slimy texture.
Do you hear a loud metallic sound when you drive? This is an indication that the pads have worn down completely and most likely beyond replacement. It is usually caused by two metal pieces such as the caliper and the disc rubbing together. This can ultimately scratch or score the rotors, resulting in an uneven surface.
Does your car pull to one side while braking? It is a tell-tale sign that there is a foreign matter in the brake fluid or that the brake linings are wearing unevenly. In this case, the fluid may have to be drained or replaced, or the car may need a brake adjustment.
If the brake pedal vibrates or pulsates, chances are the rotors are warped. This vibration is similar to the feedback in the brake pedal during a panic stop in a car with anti-lock brakes.
Warped rotors are usually caused by severe braking for extended periods, such as when towing or driving down a steep mountain. It is during these conditions that extreme amounts of friction are created, thus heating up the rotors and causing them to warp. The vibration is produced when the brake pads are not able to evenly grab the surface.
Many car owners, especially in Dubai, overlook the importance of proper car brake maintenance. If you suspect that your brakes need replacement, visit a reliable auto repair center right away to prevent expensive repairs down the line and avoid a collision.