Regular service is essential to keep your brakes operating properly as they contribute to safety and affect vehicle operation. You should never wait for the brake light to come on before taking the vehicle in for repairs. Here are signs that it’s time for brake work.
Properly working brakes operate quietly, so when you hear frequent noises, bring your vehicle to your mechanic. Brakes will either squeal and screech or present a low-pitched growling or grinding. You’ll be able to hear these noises when windows are up, but may have difficulty hearing such sounds in loud traffic or when heat or air conditioning is on high.
Grinding or growling happens when the brake pads have worn down to the metal components. This noise is caused by the disc and caliper rubbing together, which can scratch rotors, producing an uneven surface.
If you feel vibrating through the steering wheel or brake pedal while driving or stopping, it could point to warped rotors resulting from severe braking over long periods. High friction causes rotors to heat and eventually warp. Vibration, or even pulling, the next symptom, may also mean that your car needs alignment work. A thorough inspection is needed to find the cause.
Uneven wear on the brake pads can cause the vehicle to pull to one side. and can also make it difficult to stop, particularly at high speeds. Dirt and foreign particles in the brake fluid requiring draining and replacement or stuck brake cylinders can also cause pulling.
If your vehicle takes longer to stop or you need to push down harder on the brake pedal, these are signs that the pads have worn out.
Friction or excessive heat can produce odd smells, especially burning. Never ignore odd smells, even if the brake light is not on or an indicator remains unlit.
Whenever you see or hear a problem, make sure your mechanic performs a thorough inspection of all components to determine what the actual problem is. Thorough brake service can include some of the following tasks: installation of brake pads, adjustment of brake components, installation of calipers, resurfacing rotors, repacking wheel bearings and installation of new front seals and replacement of brake fluid. Your service technician should be able to offer you options and explain what steps were taken and why the work had to be performed.