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Brake Check: 3 Signs You May Need New Brakes

As a driver, you probably know that you should go for an oil change every 3,000 miles or 3 months. You might practice regular tire maintenance or keep the level of your coolant fluid filled. There are some aspects of regular vehicle maintenance that average drivers completely understand, while others are rarely thought about. Enter: your brakes.

You change the oil, check your tire pressure, and top off fluids when need be, but what do you know about brake maintenance? When do you know it's time to replace them? Do you know the signs that tell you when a repair needs to be made?

If we were to ask drivers what their biggest fear was pertaining to vehicle complications, chances are they would say something about brakes. Brake failure is a scary concept, and no one wants to (or should) experience it. However, if you are unaware of the warning signs your car gives you when it's time for new brakes, or if there is something fishy going on, you are putting yourself, your passengers, and your car at risk.

To ensure the safety of everyone in the car, as well as proper handling, you have to listen to what your car is telling you. If you are equipped with the right knowledge, and then act accordingly, you will better be able to avoid disaster. Below, we've provided you with the top three signs that you need new brakes.

Does something sound or look off?

When it comes to your brakes, it's best to stay alert and make use of your senses. Listen when applying pressure to the brakes; what do you hear? If you hear a screeching or low rumbling noise, chances are that means you will need repair soon. If you hear it regularly or every time you apply the brakes, you need to immediately get the brakes checked out.

The only exception to the squeaky brake rule is if you recently washed your car or had your car outside in the rain. After exposure to water, it is normal to hear a slight squeal when applying the brakes. This is because the water creates a thin layer on the brake rotors. The sound usually goes away after several stops when the rust on the brake rotors is worn off.

The second thing you can do is look for visible wear. Although trickier, it will help determine what shape your brake pads are in. If you look in between the spaces in your tire's spokes, you should see the brake pads pressed against the rotor. The brake pad should be about ¼ of an inch; however, if you see less than ¼ of an inch, have your car taken in for a brake inspection.

Another common mishap that drivers don't notice is the brake light on their dash. If this comes on, it indicates something in your brake system needs repair. Always be sure to look - and pay attention - to the warning lights and signals on your dash.

Any vibrations?

If you apply pressure to the brake and feel the pedal pulsate or vibrate, that is a good indication the rotors are damaged. Warped rotors are caused by long periods of severe braking. You feel the vibration because they are not able to grab the surface evenly.

However, vibration during braking can also be a sign that your vehicle is out of alignment. Either way, you will want to have an auto expert inspect the car to ensure it is safe to drive or make any repairs.

Any pulling?

If you notice that your vehicle pulls to one side when you apply the brake, that is a telltale sign that your brakes need repair. Chances are your brake lining is wearing unevenly, which causes the car to pull to one side over the other. This calls for a brake adjustment. Either that, or there is an alien object in the brake fluid. If this is the case, your fluid will have to be drained and replaced.

If you suspect that your brakes need repair, don't hesitate to visit one of our convenient locations. Brakes are vital to your safety and that of all your passengers. Don't wait until the repair is costly or until the condition is dangerous. The safety and upkeep of your vehicle are important to us, because we know it's important to you and your family!

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