Signs to Inspect Your Brakes
If there is one thing we count on when we drive, it’s being able to stop when we need to. In fact, it’s a natural assumption that when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, head down the road and press on the brake pedal, the vehicle will stop, rather than careening into another vehicle, object or person.
But what if that were not the case? What if we could not rely on our vehicle’s brakes to do their job? This is precisely what happens when brake pads wear out – reliability is lost and risk is increased.
To keep your brakes in good working condition and to ensure your safety on the road, it is important to have a qualified technician inspect your brakes if you suspect something is wrong.
Here are four signs that it is time for you to inspect your brakes:
1. Pulling Left or Right
You’re out on the road, you apply the brakes and suddenly your vehicle is pulling to one side. This is a clear sign that it’s time to inspect your brakes. When a vehicle begins pulling as the brakes are applied, this could mean a number of things; there could be a foreign substance in the brake fluid, the brake pads may be wearing unevenly. If your vehicle is pulling, get it checked out right away.
2. Vibration When Applying the Brakes
If you’ve ever hit the brakes and felt like your vehicle was going to vibrate right off the road, then you have experienced what is most likely a sign of warped rotors. Warped rotors are caused by extreme braking for long periods of time – for example, driving down a steep mountain. When the rotors are warped, the vehicle is less effective at stopping, putting you and other passengers in the vehicle at risk. More often than not these can be fixed by having them “turned” (lathing the surface to achieve a smooth flat surface) in a relatively short time period. If warping is severe it may require replacement of the rotor assembly. To determine exactly what you need it will be necessary to inspect your brakes directly.
3. Grinding and other noises When Applying the Brakes
That loud metallic sound you hear when you apply the brakes is not your vehicle singing to you –it’s actually your vehicle’s way of telling you something is wrong with the brakes. Turning up the radio will not fix the issue. In most cases, a loud, metallic grinding noise signifies that your brake pads are worn down completely. Typically, if you are hearing noises like this they are beyond repair and without a doubt, you need to inspect your brakes immediately before damaging other components in the braking system.
4. Pedal sinking, fluids leaking
If your brakes don’t work as well as they once did, or the brake pedal “sinks” toward the floor as you apply it, this is a sign that your brakes need an inspection. In fact, it could mean that your brake fluid is leaking. Check the pavement underneath the vehicle for a puddle of fluid. Brake fluid is similar to oil, so be sure to look for a substance that is slightly less slimy than oil. This symptom is very serious and requires that you have someone inspect your brakes right away. Do not attempt to put off dealing with this or assuming that “it’s not that bad.” Any loss in brake pressure is a symptom of potential catastrophic brake failure. When in doubt – inspect your brakes!
If your vehicle is experiencing any of these “symptoms,” be sure to have your brakes inspected to keep you traveling safely on the road. You can contact the trained professionals at Ressler Motors Service Departments to answer any questions you may have and to schedule an appointment to have one of our team inspect your brakes.