When is the Right Time for Replacing Brake Pads?
We’ve briefly mentioned the importance of replacing brake pads in some of our other blog posts but today we’re going to give it the full attention it deserves. Many drivers put off brake work until it’s too late. That could mean exorbitant fees for buffing or replacing worn rotors or it could have the higher cost of a traffic collision. Obviously, personal health and safety is more crucial than money but when it comes to servicing your brakes, you’re putting both as a priority.
The Mechanics of a Brake System
The mechanics of brakes are fairly simple. When you hit the brake pedal, it sets in motion a hydraulic system filled with brake fluid that constricts the brake pads around the rotor resulting in the friction necessary to bring your car to a safe halt. If you’re doing most of your driving along rural routes, you may not need to get your brakes serviced that often. However, if you’re primarily doing city driving with lots of lurching stops, it really pays to keep an eye on your brakes. But how do you check your brakes?
Checking Your Brakes Yourself
While bringing your car to your local mechanic or auto garage is your best method of getting an accurate reading on the status of your brakes, there is a fairly simple method you can use to give yourself an estimate. If you can see through the spokes of your wheel, you’ll be able to spot the rotor; a fairly distinctive metal disc. At the disc’s perimeter, you’ll notice the calipers. Sandwiched between the calipers and the rotor, you’ll find your brake pads. Your brake pad should be at least a quarter of an inch thick. Anything less should be reviewed by a brake specialist. Some wheels don’t allow you visibility of your brake pads. In that case, you can either remove the tire or simply bring your car in for a check-up.
Listening and Feeling for Warning Signs
The next time you’re driving, cut the stereo for a few moments and listen for any strange noises when you’re braking. Many modern car models were built with sensors that let out a piercing screech when your brake pads are too worn. Sometimes, you’ll even hear the screech upon taking your foot off the brake pedal. But even if your car isn’t equipped with such a sensor, you may notice other odd noises. Replacing brake pads may be on the menu if you hear a scraping, grinding, or squealing when hitting the brakes.
Replacing Brake Pads Based on Performance
Are your brakes stopping your car as efficiently as usual? It may be more challenging to take note of this since brake wear is usually a gradual process. But if it seems like your car is taking a longer time to stop or even stopping too abruptly, you should get those brake pads checked out. Likewise, if you feel any vibrations through your brake pedal, it could indicate a damaged rotor. Another common symptom of a necessity for brake repair is the need to floor your brake to get a comfortable stop.
The sooner you assess replacing brake pads, the less you’ll have to pay. But don’t be afraid to pay as much as you can afford for quality brake pads. Again, money is nowhere near as important as your health and safety. A decent set of brake pads, even with labor, shouldn’t set you back an astronomical amount. If you’ve noticed anything similar to the points we’ve mentioned, schedule an appointment to have your brakes checked out today.