5 Signs You Need Your Brakes Checked

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Every driver knows what it's like when the brakes start to go – the grinding, the eventual squealing, the realization that stopping is harder and harder. Recognizing that you need to get your brakes checked has the potential to save your life, and it will definitely prolong the life of your car. The last thing you want to deal with is replacing your brake pads or, worse, finding out that they're failing right as you rear-end the car in front of you.

Keep an Eye Out for Damage

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually see if there's any damage done to your brakes. You don't have to wait until you hear something. Walk around your car and peek through the openings on your wheels or hubcaps. Through those spaces, you can see your disc brakes and brake pads, and then you can examine them for wear. Ideally, the pad should measure about 1/4" at the very least. If the brake pads are less than that, it's time to get them checked.

Listen to What Your Brakes Tell You

Your brakes do talk to you, however, and it's up to you to listen. When you apply your brakes and hear a loud screech or squeal, that's a flashing red flag that your brakes are about to go. The sound is generally caused by a small piece of metal, the indicator, which is actually letting you know that your brake pads are quickly growing thin. The more often you hear it, the worse it is.

Now, there is an exception to this. If you hear this sound after a rainstorm or after you've washed your car, your brakes aren't necessarily going bad. The same sound can occur when the indicator scrapes over rust, which may build up anytime your vehicle's exposed to water.

Notice How Your Car Responds

When brakes begin to fail, they aren't as responsive, which is not just potentially dangerous but also an indication that they need replacing. Any time you notice your brake pedal sort of sinking when you press it, then it might point to either an air leak or a brake fluid leak. When your brake fluid leaks, you'll often notice a puddle beneath your car. It looks like motor oil, but the texture isn't as oily or iridescent.

Pay Attention to Your Car's Controls

Controlling your car is sometimes difficult when there's a brake issue. Typically, the car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes. This problem occurs when your brake linings wear down unevenly. It can also happen if there's any debris or foreign particles in your brake fluid, which is usually fixed with an adjustment or a fluid change.

Always Heed the Growl

Is your car growling or grinding at you when you apply your brakes? Then get thee to a mechanic, post-haste! Grinding sounds indicate that your brake pads are completely worn down. As a result, the caliper and the disc are now rubbing together, which can ultimately affect your rotors.

There's no need to ruin your brake pads, not when there are so many warning signs. How do you know when to take your car in for a check-up?

Categories: News, New Vehicles, Toyota News

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