Aside from your engine and transmission, your brakes are probably the most important system on your car. Your brakes are definitely the most important safety feature of any vehicle. As brakes wear down, their stopping power decreases, and it takes your car longer and longer to come to a complete stop.
At highway speeds, this can be even more dangerous. It takes the average car with good brakes 4.6 seconds to go from 60 mph to zero. If your brakes are worn down that time can almost double which can be a disaster. Here are a few signs that it may be time to change your brakes. Don’t take the chance, be safe and have your brakes checked.
Look through the gaps in your wheels and make sure that your brake pad has enough friction material left. There should be no less than ¼ inch
Brake pads come equipped with what mechanics call “Squealers”. They’re what make the high pitched noise when you hit your brakes. That noise means that its time to change your brake pads.
Fading or Squishy Brakes
If it takes more effort on the brake pedal than normal, or if your pedal sinks toward the floor, you make either need to top off on brake fluid, or you may have a leak.
If your car pulls when you hit the brakes, then your pads are wearing unevenly. Your vehicle may need a brake adjustment.
Grinding or Growling
If you hear a metallic grinding sound when you hit the brakes, this means that you’ve worn the brake pad down completely, and are scoring the caliper and rotor together. Your rotor may need replacing if this happens, along with your brake caliper.
A vibrating or pulsating brake pedal is most times a sign of warped rotors. Warped rotors are caused by having to hold the brakes for extended periods of time, such as going down hills or towing heavy objects. The added heat and friction cause the rotors to warp.
If you notice any of these signs, then take your car into a professional and have them check out your brake system. Check out your dealer’s specials and see if they are offering free brake inspections. Either way, don’t take the chance, be safe and have your brakes checked.