You constantly rely on your brakes to slow and stop your vehicle, making them essential to its overall safety. Are you sure your brakes are in top working condition? Learn the signs you need new brakes.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE BRAKES?
The lifespan of brakes varies more than most other routine maintenance needs for your car. Driving style and conditions have a significant effect on how long your brakes remain in good condition.
Someone who sits in rush hour traffic, constantly stopping and starting as they inch their way to work, will put more wear on their brakes than a person who has a short commute or experience little traffic along the way. Likewise, someone who slows to a stop will put less wear on their brakes than the person who regularly waits until the last minute to apply them.
LISTENING FOR SQUEAKS AND SQUEALS
The most recognizable sign that you need new brakes is the telltale noise. You’ve likely heard this high pitched metal squealing sound from your car or someone else’s when coming to a stop.
Thankfully the audible warning comes before you’ve actually done any damage to your vehicle. There is a small metal shim designed for this exact purpose, and if you regularly hear this squealing, it’s time to have your brakes inspected.
If you happen to hear more of a metal on metal grinding sound when you apply your brakes, it is important for your safety that you get your brakes inspected as soon as possible.
LOOKING FOR EXCESSIVE WEAR
While not as easy as simply listening while you drive, a visual inspection of your brake pad’s condition is an excellent way to know if it’s time for new brakes.
Look for the brake pads between the wheel spokes. If you can see where the brake pad presses against the rotor, you should see at least a quarter of an inch remaining on the pad. It is easier to see this on certain vehicles, so if you’re unsure or if it’s clearly less than a quarter of an inch, it’s time to make an appointment.
FEELING FOR MORE WARNING SIGNS
There are several other indications that you might be an issue with your brake system.
• Needing to press the pedal further for the same stopping power
• Pulsation or vibration in the brake pedal
• The vehicle pulling to one side or the other
• Fluid pooling under the car near the wheels while parked
CHECKING YOU BRAKES THE EASY WAY
You don’t have to rely on just yourself to spot the signs you need new brakes. The easiest way to know if there is an issue is through AAA’s new Digital Vehicle Insight system. Visit a AAA Car Care center and the technician will inspect your brakes, precisely measure your brake pad, photograph it, and send the results directly to your phone.
Getting a firsthand look and explanation of the condition of your brakes allows you to make the best decision possible for your safety and the health of your vehicle. The technicians at AAA Car Care Center inspect your brakes every time you come in for routine maintenance.
If you’ve heard squealing from your brakes, observed that your brake pads are worn, experienced other issues, or have gone more than a year since your last brake check, call 844-288-5593 or find your nearest AAA Car Care location to have them inspected today.