We are so dependent on our cars to get us from point A to point B so if we properly maintain them and treat them with respect, they will take very good care of us and our precious cargo. Besides the engine, the 2nd most important system of your vehicle that needs good upkeep is your brake system. It’s irreplaceable. After all, if you can’t stop, there’s no point in starting in the first place! Right? Your brakes take a beating every single time you get behind the wheel so good and proper maintenance of them is critical to help ensure your safety and that of your passengers.
But here’s the good news: in most cases, if you’re paying attention, your car will give you fair warning that the brakes are wearing out. Here are six signs you should look (and listen) for that tell you it’s time to bring your vehicle in for service:
- Your brake light is on
If the ABS light on your dashboard turns on, that means it is time for brake repair. This light stands for anti-lock braking system, and if it is illuminated it means that sensors in the brake system have detected some form of a problem and it’s time to call for an appointment.
- The car pulls to the side when you brake
If your car pulls to one side or another, without turning the steering wheel when you apply the brakes, this often indicates that the current brake pads are wearing unevenly and need replaced with new brake pads.
- The car jerks when you stop
Do you feel the car vibrate or jerk when you apply the brakes? Sometimes this happens because one or more of the brake drums has become warped. This can be a safety issue because the brakes are making contact inconsistently, lengthening the time it takes to stop. If you feel this vibration, definitely have the brakes looked at.
- You have to pump the brakes
Your car should immediately respond when you press the brake pedal. If you have to pump your brake pedal or need to push it down farther than normal, check your brake pads. They may be so low that they barely touch the disc itself. Your brake fluid could be low as well, forcing you to press the pedal almost to the floor to engage.
- The brakes grind or screech
In most vehicles, a metal shim begins sounding off at the first sign that the brake pads are getting too thin, creating a high-pitched squeal or screech when the brakes are applied. If you take the car in for auto repair when you first hear this sound, chances are only the pads themselves will need replacing. If you procrastinate, the brake job will cost you more. When you hear a growling or grinding noise when you apply the brakes, that is usually caused by the calipers making direct contact with the brake drums or rotors, meaning metal on metal. You start hearing this sound because you’ve been ignoring the brake squealing. This typically means that the drums will need to be replaced along with the pads.
- The pedal vibrates or touches the floor when you brake
If when you press your foot down on the brake pad, and feel vibration or constant grabbing when you attempt to apply the brakes. This is commonly known as “pulsating brakes”. The vibration is typically caused by worn out brakes, or brake pads that are warped due to heat. In the case of pulsating brakes, sometimes the brake pads are re-machined to remedy the problem. If the pads cannot be re-machined then they will likely need to be replaced with new brake pads.
Schedule an appointment today to have a maintenance check on your car’s brake system at Bell Union Auto Service by calling (602) 788-7600. We proudly serve the North Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, and North Scottsdale area. Our mechanics can check all the various parts of the system and make sure you are safe, because braking is crucial. Contact us today.