When Should You Change Your Brakes?

Carpart News

Nov 26th, 2018

When Should You Change Your Brakes?

Brake parts have a life expectancy, and they need to be regularly checked to ensure your safety.

Some of these signs will show you that your brake system needs a quick fix, while some are signs that you need to book an appointment with your car mechanic. Your brakes are a standout amongst the most imperative security segments in your vehicle. So, on the off chance that you see any of the accompanying brake issues, you should get an expert to check your vehicle, truck or SUV immediately.

Squealing, Squeaking or Grinding Noises

Metallic squeal

This is a clear sign every car user needs to pay attention to. If you hear a metallic squeal while your car is in motion, it's a clear indication of faulty brakes. 

High-pitched noise

If you start hearing a high-pitched noise that only stops when you step on the brake pedal this is likely to be an indication that your brake pad has worn out. Since brake parts are made of steel, they make this sound when they start touching the rotor.

They're just sending you a signal you that your pads are worn out and need to be replaced before unnecessary damage happens to your rotors, which can be very costly to fix, especially if you drive a sports car, run ceramic or perforated discs.

Grinding sound

Do you sense a grinding sound when brakes are applied? Grinding that you also feel when your leg hit the pedal could mean numerous things. There could be some gravel or a rock caught in the calliper unit which can be easily remedied. But if it's been a long time since the last servicing on your brake system, the brake pads may be worn through, and you hear metal on metal.

Grinding sound could also be an indicator of lack of oil in vehicles with rear drum brakes. The brake shoe (that part that presses on the rotor to slow the car) could be scraping on metal contact points like the backing plate, as a result of rust.

If you hear any of the above sounds, then you need to get your brakes checked right away to avoid more expensive problems later and to ensure you and your family's safety.

Wobbling, Vibration or Scraping When Braking

Uneven rotor

Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when you apply the brakes may be as a result of an uneven rotor. Brake rotors are discs that sit inside of the wheels, attached to your hub and bearing (in between the callipers). When you hit the brake pedal, the brake pads hug the rotors, slowing down your vehicle. You want rotors to be smooth and even in thickness.

Over time and after thousands of wheel revolutions, it's normal for the rotor surface to get slight variations. Rust can also sometimes develop. During brake servicing, the face of the rotor is often machined (smoothed and evened out) to correct these flaws.

This work has to be done precisely to your vehicle's specifications. The tiniest differences in disc thickness — we're talking thousandths of an inch, about three sheets of paper in width — can cause a wobbly feeling when you brake.

An uneven rotor surface may also cause the rotor to hit one of the brake pads as it spins, creating some of the pad material to transfer onto the rotor in that spot. Then you'll feel shaking when braking, as the pad hits that bump in the rotor.

Faulty brake calliper

Another possible cause of uneven braking is the brake calliper not releasing correctly. The job of a brake calliper is to squeeze the brake pads against your brake rotors, slowing down your vehicle. It's the motion of the piston inside the calliper unit that causes this contact.

Due to wear from heat or road debris, the piston can get sticky. It may not retract the pads back into the full "off" position when you let up on the brake pedal.

Damaged brake components

The other cause of uneven braking could be damage to your brake components from improper wheel lug nut installation. (The lug nuts are the big bolts that clamp your tyre and wheel onto the hub of your car.)

Any time tyres are removed, the lug nuts must be put back on in the right order, evenly, at just the right tightness. It has to be done in a star pattern, with only the correct pressure. If not, you'll get uneven, premature rotor wear and be back for servicing sooner rather than later.

Leaking Fluid

If you're experiencing a soft brake pedal, let an auto mechanic check it for you, the mechanic will look for fluid leaking from the master cylinder or elsewhere in the brake system.

The master cylinder is the centre that creates the power for your brakes. It has a space like the one for your wiper fluid that contains brake oil. When you apply the brakes, this oil is pushed through thin pipes, creating hydraulic pressure. If the fluid is leaking from this system, there may not be enough power to force the brake pads to clamp hard to the rotors.

Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal

If you sense a difference in the resistance in the brake pedal — it feels "softer," or sinks to the floor mat when you press on it — it's a sign you need immediate brake service. There could be air or moisture in the braking or a problem with the master cylinder. Generally, in cars with power brakes, the pedal should stop 1 to 1 ½ inch from the floor. If you have manual brakes, the pedal should stop more than 4 inches from the floor.

If you're buying new brake parts or other auto parts, you may refer to Carpart's platform. We took the hassle out of searching for car parts, and all you need to do is fill out a form. We will then send your request to thousands of sellers who will then send you a quote on the part you're looking for.