Braking is an important part of driving. Do not attempt to drive your car if your brakes are broken. You should definitely replace your brake pads as soon as they need to be replaced. Check them occasionally to be extra safe. You can also call the brake repair and replacement services near you to be sure.
That being said, you should be looking for a few of these warning signs and look further into getting new brake pads.
These indicators will tell you if you need new brake pads and if you need to take your car to the brake shop.
1. Visual inspection
Get down and look at the thickness of your brake pad. If you take a look at the braking assembly and its components, you'll be able to actually see the brake pad pressing up against the rotor.
Your brake pad starts out being quite thick and then as you use it, it wears down and it gets thinner and thinner. If it's more than a quarter of an inch think, you should be good to go for at least a little while. If you see that the brake pad's thickness is less than a quarter of an inch, it's time to replace your brake pads soon.
2. Screeching sound
Inside your braking assembly, there's a little piece of metal that touches the brake rotor when your brakes wear down. That is why when you press the brakes, you hear a screeching sound.
That little piece of metal serves as an indicator that allows you to know that your brake pads are worn down and that you need new ones soon.
3. Less braking power
When you get new brake pads, it feels like your car is a sports car. The brake works so effectively, quickly, and aggressively. When you push the brake pedal down, you will feel that your brakes are in good condition.
However, as your brake pads get older, they lose their braking power. As they get worn out and used, they lose their effectiveness and that's just natural.
Brake pads work best when they're new but they're bound to slowly lose their effectiveness over time. So if you notice that you have to press the brake pedal down significantly harder than you had to, you should look into getting new brake pads.
4. Car pulling to one side or the other when you step on the brakes
In general, brakes on both sides should wear evenly at the same rate. However, brake pads tend to wear more towards one side or the other. Meaning, your left brake pad might wear faster than your right one or vice versa.
Because of that, when you step on the brakes, your car might be pulling to one side or the other. When your car does that, it's best to take a look at your brake pads and see if you need to replace them.
5. Grinding sound
There are a lot of things that can cause a grinding sound but if you hear it when you step on the brakes, it could be that your brake pads are completely worn down. This could also mean you've ignored the aforementioned warning signs and now your brake pads are completely worn down which could damage your rotors.
If you hear that grinding sound as you step on the brake, it would be better if you pull over to the side to avoid damaging your rotors. In that case, you'll be replacing not only your brake pads but also your rotors.
What causes brake failure?
Knowing when to replace your brake pads is important, however, knowing what causes them to fail is equally crucial. If you think your brakes are broken while on the road, do not continue driving. It might cause a serious accident. It's best to get to the side of the road as safely as possible and get help. To avoid this from happening, here are the most common causes of brake failure that you have to know:
1. Loss of brake fluid
The brake fluid provides the force created when you press the brake pedal. This force is applied to each of the brake rotors on the four corners of your car. When pressure is applied effectively, the wheels slow or stop the movement of the car.
If there's a leak in your brake fluid, it can cause a loss of brake pressure which means your car won't be able to stop. You'll know if your brake fluid is leaking when there's liquid dripping from your engine down to the floor. If you notice a leak, get it repaired and replaced first before driving.
2. Damaged brake cylinder
The brake cylinder is a hydraulic pump that feeds brake fluid into the brake circuit to convert the pressure on the brake pedal to hydraulic pressure. A bad brake cylinder can cause your braking system to lose power.
If the brake fluid is leaking past the seals inside the cylinder, your brake pedal may feel firm for a moment but it won't hold steady. You will start to feel it go spongy, and mushy, and may sink far down when pressed.
3. Bad brake booster
As the name suggests, a brake booster helps to boost the performance of your brakes. This makes it easier for you to brake by increasing the force exerted without the need for the additional force applied on the foot pedal.
If the brake booster fails, it loses the ability to amplify the force from your foot. This means you'll have to use more effort when stepping on your brake pedal. This can reduce the hydraulic pressure in the brake fluid, making it harder to brake.
Now that you know these five warning signs, it's best to observe your car's braking system. These signs will give you the idea of getting new brake pads to avoid accidents and further damage.
You have to rely on your eyes and do a visual inspection, listen with your ears for any screeching or grinding sound, you should feel whether or not your brakes are less effective than they used to be, and lastly, observe whether or not your car pulls to the side when you brake. These things will help you determine the need to replace your brake pads or have them fixed.
You can do this yourself or get a professional mechanic to look into them. If you need brake repair near Kapolei, you should book a schedule with Car Geeks, one of the most trusted auto repairs in Kapolei.