Signs of Wear & Tear on Brakes
There are a number of ways that your car might be trying to tell you that it’s time to replace your brake pads, brake fluid or even the brake disc itself. Usually there are tell-tale signs that let you know exactly what the problem is and what you need to do.
Use our handy infographic to find help spot potential problems with your car’s brakes and possible courses of action to get your car back to being safe on the road.
If you’re in any doubt about the health of your car’s brakes, it’s best to have them checked by a mechanic immediately.
Warning signs of brakes being too worn for safe use
There are a number of warning signs to look out for that could mean one or more of your brake components are in need of replacement, but the hard part can be working out what symptom relates to what component:
Many brake pads have built-in metal shims that emit a squealing noise when your pads have worn down sufficiently.
Some brake callipers are built with small windows allowing you to see how thick your car’s brake pads are and how much effective life is left in them. If you have less than ¼ of an inch left on your brake pads, it’s time to replace them.
If your car pulls to one side under braking, this is often a sign that your brake pads have worn unevenly and now need replacing.
If your car’s brakes make a clicking sound when the brake pedal is pressed, it means that your pads need replacing. Brake pad retention springs are installed on your car’s brakes to limit the movement of brake pads when the pedal is depressed. When the pads have worn down enough, many cars emit a click noise under braking.
Brake discs can become warped or damaged, not just through extreme usage, but from everyday wear and tear. Wear on the rotors are often noticeable as a ‘pulsating’ feeling in the brake pedal.
It isn’t always the case that you’ll be required to replace the brake discs every time they are damaged, provided there is enough thickness left on the rotor (as specified in your owner’s manual), a mechanic should be able to resurface a brake disc several times before a replacement is needed.
Any loss of ‘pressure’ feeling in the brake pedal is usually as a result of old or ineffective brake fluid. It’s worth replacing the brake fluid in your car’s system regularly: most manufacturers recommend doing it around once every two years, but this can vary significantly.
Old brake fluid is prone to collecting moisture, which can reduce the fluid’s effectiveness and corrode your car’s brake lines from the inside, creating the potential for serious problems later on.
How to prolong the life of your car brake discs and brake pads
Brake pads can last anywhere between 25,000 and 75,000 miles depending on the type of car and most importantly your driving style. Braking late and hard wears out your pads faster than driving smoothly and braking early. This also creates less heat in the rotor which means that they are less likely to suffer from warping or cracking commonly associated with heat damage.
Most manufacturers recommend checking your brake pads’ condition every 12 months or 10,000 miles (whichever comes first).
For more advice and information on brakes and how they work, feel free to ask one of our experts located nationwide.