7 Telltale Signs Your Car Needs Brake Replacement

The top priority of most vehicle owners is to stay safe on the road as much as possible. However, to accomplish that, it’s not only the way you drive that you need to be mindful of because the various parts of your car, in particular the brakes, prevent you from getting into a collision.

 Hitting the brake pedal activates a mechanism in your car that springs the vehicle to a halt. Your car brakes need to be in top working condition at all times, so how do you know when they need replacing? Watch for any of these signs:

1. Unusual Noises

If you suddenly hear a noise that stops every time you step on the brake pedal, it’s a sign that you need to take a closer look at your brakes. The noise may be akin to squealing, buzzing, or scraping, which might be an indication that your brake pads should be replaced. 

Most brakes today have features that can give off such sounds when they become too worn. They create friction on the rotor that in turn causes the noise.

Should you encounter this situation, it’s important to bring your vehicle to the dealership for maintenance. If the affected components have to be replaced, it’s up to you to choose aftermarket parts vs. OEM parts

It’s crucial that you’re given the choice to use original parts or opt for alternatives from a different manufacturer because you may be driving a car that requires OEM parts. Needless to say, you’re allowed to select whichever you want or can afford.

2. Less Responsiveness

When it’s taking more time for your vehicle to stop when you hit the brakes, this is called a brake fade. It’s also harder to stop when you’re driving up a hill or incline and regularly do so because doing so can wear out the brake pads.

There could be a break in the system, like leaking brake fluid or an air leak. Look under the car and scan areas for a small pool of brake fluid. It has a less slimy texture but is comparable to motor oil.

If you want to go to a different repair shop for more affordable services but your dealership’s stopping you from doing so, know that you have the right to go against their will. The Right to Repair Act states that you have the right to information about your car, motorcycle, or truck. 

The same goes for independent auto shops, which means they have the right to repair your vehicle.

3. Physical Damage

Physical Damage

When inspecting the brake pads, if you see any abnormalities in their appearance such as reduced thickness, have them replaced. Brake pads shouldn’t be any less than a quarter-inch thick. 

They’re at a specific thickness for a reason, so when yours are showing signs of thinning, they may not be strong enough to handle the pressure for too long.

If your vehicle’s a trailer, have a brake controller installed on it as a supplemental safety feature. This makes for a stronger emergency braking system.

4. The Brake Light Is On

You should also check your dashboard because your brakes have light indicators that make it easier for you to spot problems. A yellow or red indicator that lights up means you may need to take your car for an inspection and servicing. 

You must ensure that your foot is off the brake pedal as a way to confirm that it’s not what's triggering the light.

5. Vibrating Brakes

Brake pads can begin to scrape and cause friction in various places of the rotor. Thinner rotors can be dangerous because they can cause vibration or pulsation once your footsteps onto the brake.

Once this happens, bring your car for servicing to repair the rotors and change the brake pads. The mechanic will know to machine the rotors at the same thickness. Some mechanics would prefer to replace them altogether because thinning rotors can warp in the long run.

It’s essential to take care of this problem right away because it can get more dangerous the longer you ignore it. The braking system will eventually break down, which could cost you not just money but lives as well.

6. Pulling

When driving, you may notice that your vehicle is ‘pulling’ to one side only. That’s another clear sign that your brake lining is worn or showing signs of unevenness.

You can also check your brake fluid if it has any solid matter swimming in it, and you must learn how to determine if it’s the right level and color. You may need to have the brakes adjusted or drain the brake fluid and replace it with a fresh batch.

7. Burning Smell

When your brakes are overused, they’ll experience overheating and give off a burning, chemical-like smell. If you encounter this, stop the vehicle and ensure that the brake pads are released. 

It’s essential for you to stop while doing so because you may risk overheating the brakes even more, and that might cause a failure. Watch out for signs of smoke from the wheel or a brake caliper that’s stuck.

In Conclusion

It’s essential to ensure that your brakes are in excellent condition because they’re crucial to your safety. They’re a part of the vehicular system that saves lives, just like the seat belt. If you keep using them, which you should, they’re highly likely to get worn out faster. 

Take your car regularly to a servicing shop for regular maintenance so the auto professionals there can figure out if your brake system or any of its parts need repair or replacement.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for innovatecar.com and other auto blogs