Do I Need New Brakes? How Can I Tell?


If you’re wondering How Can I Tell if I Need New Brakes, you’re in the right place! Brakes aren’t something most people think about until they suspect a problem. Brakes are perhaps the most important safety feature of any vehicle! They’re definitely something you want to keep maintained & working well.

How Can I Tell if I Need New Brakes?

Unusual Noises

If you notice Squeaking, Squealing, or Grinding, that is usually a sign that your brakes are ready for replacement. Occasional squeaking or squealing may just mean that the brakes are glazed, which is a cheap & easy fix. This usually doesn’t require a new set. If you get squeaking or squealing more often, it may be the brake pad wear indicator or “squealer” hitting the rotor. Intended as an early warning device, this is built in to let you know your brakes are worn to the point of needing replacement. A more severe grinding noise when braking is usually the result of brake pads or shoes that are completely worn. The noise is a result of metal-on-metal contact. You’ll want to get your brakes checked ASAP if this is the case.

Low Brake Fluid

If your brake fluid reservoir is nearing the ‘Low’ mark, and you’re not noticing spots on the ground under your vehicle (which would indicate a leak), this is another sign your brakes are due for replacement. As your brake pads wear, the pistons in your brake calipers move further and further outwards towards the rotors. This extra distance creates more brake fluid volume in the calipers, which lowers the level of fluid in the reservoir.

Your Eyes

If you can see your brake calipers (the metal, crescent shaped parts behind your car’s wheels), you’re in luck! You may be able to visually inspect your car’s brake pads yourself. If you find it difficult to see the pads, try this. Use your cell phone camera or a small mirror to help you get the right angle. Firstly, If you have 1/4″ or more of friction material on your brake pads, you have a bit of time before you need new brakes. So, any less, and you’ll want to plan on a trip to your mechanic soon.

Remember: VIBE

. One way you’ll know it’s time for a brake inspection is by remembering “VIBE”

  • Vibrating Steering Wheel: Pulsing in the brake pedal, and/or vibration in the steering wheel when slowing down is a sign that one or more rotors may be warped.
  • Intermittent Screeching – This is usually the first sign you’ll notice that your brakes are worn.
  • Blue Rotors – Rotors that have been overheated will have a telltale blue coloration.
  • Excessive Wear – Inspect your rotors for grooves or scoring (which can cause the screeching we mentioned earlier).

Ed’s BnB Auto Repair is always ready to help. Give us a call and we’ll discuss your options. You can also use the Book Appointment button to schedule an appointment. 

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