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Brakes are essential to your safety. So how do you know when brake pads are wearing out and need to be replaced?

There are two easy ways to check for brake wear. First off, look at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel ‘s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. Look to see if there is at least 1/4 inch of pad. If the brake pad is less than ¼ of an inch, then it is advised to get your brake pads replaced.

Another sign that your brake pads may need to get replaced is if there is a high-pitched screeching sound when you apply the brake. Brake pad manufacturers include a little piece of metal called an indicator on the pad itself. When the brake pad wears down to less than ¼ inch, the metal piece begins to touch the car’s rotor.

Here are some other additional signs of brake problems:

Reduced responsiveness

If your brakes are not as responsive or if the pedal sinks toward the floor, this could be a sign of a leak in the brake hose or brake fluid. Also, if you notice a small puddle of fluid forming beneath your car while it is parked, this could be a sign of a brake fluid leak. Brake fluid looks a lot like motor oil, but has a less of a slimy texture.

Pulling

If your car pulls toward one side more than the other while braking, it may be because the brake linings are wearing unevenly or that there is debris in the brake fluid. Either way, your car should be taken in for an inspection.

Grinding

This loud sound indicates that you have worn down the pads completely, most likely beyond replacement. The grinding noise is caused by the disc and the caliper rubbing together. This scratches your rotors, causing an uneven surface. When this happens, your rotors need to be turned (evens out the rotor surface), or even replaced.

Vibration

Vibrating brakes is most likely a sign of warped rotors or the car may be out of alignment. The vibration felt in this situation is quite similar to a car equipped with emergency brakes making a sudden stop. Warped rotors are caused by severe braking for long periods of time, like driving down a steep road. Large amounts of friction created under these conditions will heat up the rotors, causing it to warp. This will in turn make it more difficult for brake pads to grab the surface evenly (which is why you feel vibration).

Having brake problems? Make an appointment with us today!