It’s inevitable: if you keep your car long enough, the components of your brake system will wear and, if left unattended to, brake problems will develop. The key to maintaining your brake system is to know the symptoms of brake problems. Fortunately, your car will start sending you signals to let you know when it is time to address a developing problem. You just need to understand how vehicles communicate these problems before your car is need of extensive brake repair.
Audible Brake Problem Symptoms. If you start to hear screeching, grinding, squealing, or maybe a rubbing sound when you are pressing on the brake pedal your brake pads have worn down to the point that attention is needed. Using your ears is the most common way to identify a brake problem. If your car radio is always on, or you use your commute time to talk on the phone, the noises your car is making to communicate brake issues may go unnoticed. Make a point to listen for these cues from time to time.
Other Brake Signals. You press the brakes to stop and your foot goes down more than usual. Or maybe you just feel some pulsation in the pedal or your steering wheel — and your vehicle favors one direction when you apply the brakes. There might even be a pungent burning smell by the tires after you stop. Don’t ignore any one of these less-than-stellar symptoms — they might suggest your brake system is compromised. And if your brake warning light comes on don’t wait to bring your car into an automotive technician.
Early brake signals are the most important for preventing costly brake issues from developing sooner than they should. When brake wear is prolonged, the cost of repairing a system can be extensive. If you bring your car in for a brake inspection as soon as you receive a signal from your vehicle, a standard brake service is the one you will most likely need.