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Aug 29, 2016

When Do You Need A Brake Repair?

Posted By in Car Tips | No Comments »

Your vehicle’s brake system is one of the most important mechanisms in your car, and ensuring that it is functioning properly can keep you and your passengers safe when on the road. But unlike other car systems, there is no definite schedule for replacing the brakes. So you have to rely on your driving experience, eyes, ears, and advice from an experienced mechanic to identify a fault in the brake system and get it fixed.

When Do You Need To Repair Your Brakes?

Visual inspection

Most vehicles get their tires rotated every six months, and this presents a great opportunity for the brakes to be inspected at the same time. The technician can assess the thickness of the pads, as well as the condition of the brake components to check for wear.

By peering in between the wheel spokes, you can also visually inspect the condition of your brake pads (the exterior ones) without having to remove the wheel. Brake pads generally wear evenly, so the condition of the outside pad should be similar to the inside one.

The remaining bit of the brake pad should be at least 0.25 inches thick (or six millimetres), in which case you should schedule an appointment with your technician soon. If it is less than this, get the brake pads replaced immediately to avoid damaging the brake hardware due to excessive wear.

Listen for unusual sounds when braking

When driving your car, occasionally turn off the A/C and radio, and roll down the windows. Hit the brakes and listen for a high-pitched screeching sound coming from the brakes. Brake pads have an indicator built into their material that is in the form of a metal. When the pads get low enough, they begin to rub against the metal of the rotor, producing that annoying screeching sound that tells you to fix your brakes.

You should keep in mind that there are some instances when your brakes can produce a screeching sound without the brakes being necessarily worn, like when wetness from precipitation or cleaning the car causes rust to accumulate on the rotor and causes it to squeal temporarily. This noise should stop as soon as the film of rust wears off after several stops.

Other signs that your brakes need to be repaired include:

  • Lack of responsiveness – If the pedal sinks to the floor or the brakes seem off when applied, it could be due to a leak in the brake system (either loss of brake fluid or entry of air into the system).
  • Grinding or growling sound – If you ignore the screeching sound and the brake pads completely wear off, the metal backing plate will start to rub against the rotor, dramatically reducing your stopping power.
  • Pulling – When you apply the brakes and the car “pulls” to one side, it is because the brakes are worn unevenly, and they should be adjusted.
  • Vibration – Warped brake rotors, caused by prolonged heavy braking, like when driving down a steep mountain, can cause vibration.

Your brakes are a crucial safety feature of your car. So if you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your local mechanic to get them checked and repaired if necessary.


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