Brakes are arguably one of the most important parts of your car. Unfortunately, with the constant maintenance needs of your car, brakes are often pushed to the side in favor of cheaper maintenance needs like oil and filter changes. Those are important too, but it’s time we gave brakes the love they deserve. Checking in on your brakes early can save you thousands of dollars in more intensive repairs. Plus, faulty brakes can lead to accidents and issues when transporting your vehicle. If you’re trying to ship a vehicle with faulty brakes, some transport companies won’t even touch your car. A vehicle with bad brakes is a liability claim waiting to happen. If you’re trying to save money and avoid expensive and time-consuming repairs, check out these five signs that your car might need new brakes.
1) Your Vehicle Vibrates
This is the first sign your car will give you when it needs new brakes. If you press the brake pedal and your car starts to vibrate, it could mean a much bigger problem if you choose to ignore this. Brake pads have a thin resin that naturally deteriorates over time. The cylinder spins and the brake pad grabs onto the cylinder. This causes friction and heat, which melts the resin on the brake pad. If this resin melts onto the rotor, the resin will create an irregular surface on the rotors. When you brake, the pads try to grip onto this irregular surface, which creates a vibration.
If you get to it early enough, all it could mean is a simple change of brake pads. However, if you wait too long, it could mean you need to get new rotors.
2) You notice a grinding sound.
If you ignore the vibrations for long enough, you may very well hear a grinding noise when you brake. If your car starts to grind when you hit the brakes, it could mean you need new brake pads, but more than likely, it means you need new rotors. The grinding noise you’re hearing is the sound of metal contacting metal. It’s not a fun sound. The calipers are making direct contact with your rotors because the brake pads are grinded down to nothing.
You’ll need new pads if you’re lucky, but more likely, you’ll need new rotors. However, if you wait too long, you may need to replace the whole brake system if the calipers start to fail as well.
3) There’s a squealing sound
If the squealing is constantly screaming at you while you drive, it could mean you need new belts. If it goes away when you apply the brakes, your new car could be telling you there is an issue with the brakes. This is actually a feature in newer brake pads, not a glitch. There’s a tab inside the brake pads that is exposed if the brake pads deteriorate too far. This metal tab scrapes the rotor to warn the driver of the problem and get them to fix it before things get too bad.
This more than likely means new brake pads. However, the squealing could be a number of things, like the belts. It’s best to have a mechanic take a look. The tab could be too late and you need new rotors, or it could be something else entirely.
4) Your car doesn’t Stop Like it used to
You know your car better than anyone else. You will know if something doesn’t feel right. This is especially true if you recall that your car used to stop on a dime and now it stops in the middle of a crosswalk. If your car is slow to stop, it could be because of brake fade. Brake fade is when you use your brakes over a long period of time without coming to a complete stop. This is common for people who live in areas with heavy traffic or steep roads. It puts a lot of strain on your car’s brakes, and when you’re constantly braking, that strain just grows.
Check with your mechanic to see if your brake pads show signs of brake fade.
5) Your vehicle pulls to one side.
Unfortunately, your brake pads never wear down at a constant rate. One side may wear down faster than the other. When this happens, it could throw your car’s alignment off. It could put strain on your steering knuckles, ball joints, wheel bearings, and steering rack. Continued strain could cause some serious problems down the line with repairs that could cost more than your car. Early diagnosis could reveal a faulty wheel bearing, an issue with brake calipers, or even something simple like uneven tire pressure.
Go to a mechanic before it gets worse. It’s not fun to go to the mechanic. It’s never cheap. But it’s almost always cheaper than getting a new car.
If You Need New Brakes, get it checked early
Like we said, your brakes are one of the most important functions in your car. Even if you don’t plan on driving your car, it’s still important to have working brakes. If you’re trying to ship a car that doesn’t run, it might be a good idea to just repair the brakes before you ship it for a safer trip. If you’re driving your car every day, get to a mechanic before it’s too late.