Reading the Warning Signs of Bad Brakes


The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is a perfect way to describe how most of us view our car’s brakes. We simply push on a pedal and the car stops. But the brakes are arguably a vehicle’s most important safety feature. If you suspect something is wrong with them, it is better to be safe than sorry. Whether it is via a brake specialist, a mobile mechanic or when you have a regular car service, get the brakes checked regularly or if you suspect the slightest problem. It could save your life.

Brakes Wear Out
Brakes are put under a lot of pressure – it takes more than the pressure of your foot on the pedal to control all that stopping power. So, as with anything mechanical, the brakes will wear out over time. Essentially, brakes work by pressure being applied to a disc in the wheel using a type of calliper lined with pads. When brakes deteriorate, it is usually the brake pads that are wearing out, and they need replacing at regular intervals. At various stages of your car’s life you will also find that the discs need machining to maintain the right balance, which is essentially another type of wear. One thing is for sure though – if your brakes are wearing out, they will give you plenty of warning.

Warning Sign No.1
This is when your car brakes “grab” when they are applied. It can be caused by several factors. The first is that the brake pads are too thin. Secondly, it could be a problem with the brake rotors, which have become scored. Lastly, and least commonly, is that brake fluid has leaked and is affecting the car’s braking power.

Warning Sign No.2
A car pulling to one side can actually be caused by a couple of different factors – the brakes are one of these. If you notice that it pulls to the side more when you apply the brakes then it is a pretty sure sign of uneven brake wear. Low tyre pressure and wheels out of alignment can also cause a car to pull to one side, so it is worth getting those two causes eliminated first before taking your vehicle to a brake expert.

Warning Sign No.3
The most obvious sign of wearing brakes is a lack of stopping power. That means if you notice your car is taking longer to pull up when you hit the brakes, it’s time to consult a mechanic. It could point to a more significant problem with the brakes, so for the safety of yourself and other road users, if your brakes lose power then get them inspected immediately.

Warning Sign No.4
How much do you cringe when you hear fingernails scratched down a blackboard? It’s an excruciating noise that has a very similar sound to your car’s brakes. If your brakes are “squealing” it’s time to get them checked out. Sometimes it can just be a case of using different brake pads, but usually it is a sure sign of wear.

Repairing Brakes
Some of us will have enough mechanical knowledge to change the brake pads on our car. It is actually a fairly straight-forward process for those in the know. But for the majority of us it’s best to leave it to an expert. Often brake repairs can be fixed during a regular service, and any problems can also be picked up early during this process.

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