Your car’s brakes may be the most important safety component of all of your car’s systems. Because brakes are hidden from plain view, many drivers don’t consider their brakes until they need repairing. Most people don’t realize that their brakes are in need of repair until a serious problem pops up during a driving situation. Though brake failure is a glaringly obvious sign of brake problems, there are several other indications that it may be time to take your car to a mechanic to have the brakes checked.
It’s very rare for a braking system to fail entirely without presenting any previous stopping problems. If you feel like you need to apply more pressure than usual to stop your car, you should have your brakes checked. Difficulty stopping is most often indicative of leaking brake fluid.
Squealing or Grinding Noises
If your brake pads are worn or damaged, your brakes will start to squeal. Squealing is actually a sign that your car is doing what it’s supposed to! When your brake pads wear down, the brake itself rubs against a wear indicator in your car, which causes squealing to alert you to the problem. If you hear squealing, get your brakes repaired through a simple pad replacement. If your brakes are making a grinding noise, it’s likely that they had been squealing but had gone unrepaired; grinding brakes can cause more serious damage or even brake failure, so get to a mechanic right away!
If you feel like your brakes are vibrating, throbbing or pulsing when you apply pressure, you need to have your brakes repaired. When brakes are exposed to heat or water over long periods of time, they can become misshapen or warped which causes them to vibrate. Warped brakes are more likely to perform inadequately; you’ll need to have your brakes replaced to avoid serious danger.
Unless you have an electrical problem, your brake light is your best bet in alerting you to a need for brake repair. Antilock braking systems use wire sensors that detect problems with a braking system. A lit ABS light indicates a brake problem in need of repair or a faulty ABS wire sensor. Either situation requires repair to keep you safe on the road.