Five Warning Signs That Your Car Needs New Brakes

Brakes that are in good working condition are essential to safe travel. Your car will let you know if your brakes need replacing. When one of these warning signs appears, it is vital that you take it seriously and promptly have a trusted mechanic replace your brakes.

Five Warning Signs

car needs new brakes
Image credit: Unsplash

1. Squeaking or grinding sounds

When you hear strange sounds, particularly a high-pitched squeaking sound, your brake pads may be showing signs of wear. If ignored, a grinding or scrubbing sound will begin. This means the brake pads have become dangerously worn and must immediately be replaced. If you detect a grinding noise, it may damage your brake rotor, which will be expensive to replace. It is preferable to replace the brake pads when they begin to squeak for safety reasons as well as to curb the cost of repairs.

2. Vibrations

When applying the brakes, you may notice vibrations through the brake pedal or the steering wheel. This is a bad sign. It signals that your brake rotors have sustained damage. Rotors can be warped by overuse, aggressive driving, or extreme heat from the brakes. If your brake rotors are warped, your brake pads will not wear evenly. This can affect the way your brakes operate. If you do not fix this problem when the vibration begins, your car could be unsafe and experience brake failure. This could end catastrophically.

3. Car takes longer to stop

When you detect changes in how your car stops, for instance, it takes longer to stop than usual completely, your car is alerting you that its brake pads must be replaced. Effective stopping is far less reliable when brake pads are worn out. Increasing stopping distances gives you less time to react when brakes are needed, especially in traffic or when traveling at excessive speeds. This reduced ability to control your vehicle can easily lead to a significant car crash. Regular inspections and replacement as needed can keep you and other motorists much safer.

4. Pulling to the side

When applying the brakes, your car may pull to one side. This can be another sign of a malfunctioning braking system. This may be happening for various reasons. There could be a stuck caliper, uneven brake pad wear, or a brake hose that has collapsed. Pulling can be a hazard in any situation, especially when traveling at higher speeds. This situation may result in a severe accident. When you notice your car is pulling to the side, take it in for a brake inspection. If there is a problem, immediately have it repaired.

5. Watch Out for Warning Lights

The dashboard of most cars provides us with a wealth of information. Warning lights are there to indicate a number of issues, including problems with the brake system. If you notice the brake system warning light coming on, your car clearly communicates that there is a problem. Take it to your trusted brake specialist and have inspections and repairs conducted. By ignoring the warning light, you could be setting your brakes up for failure. This could end in tragedy if you are not careful. Have your brakes checked as soon as you notice the warning light.

What to do if Your Brakes Fail

A brake failure can lead to dangerous, possibly tragic, consequences. Not being able to stop or slow down can cause your car to collide with other cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and obstacles you might encounter on the road.

How serious a brake failure accident is will depend on how fast you are traveling, how much the vehicle weighs, and if there are other vehicles, people, or objects involved. If you find that your brakes are failing, here are some tips to reduce the potential severity of what could happen:

Pump the brakes to quickly build up brake pressure to gain control of your speed.

Apply the emergency brake since it is an entirely separate braking system.

If you are driving a straight drive, also called a manual transmission, downshift the gears to slow your car in the case of failing brakes.

Steer to safety. If you cannot stop, try to steer to the safest place you can find to avoid an accident. Parking lots or the side of the road are good choices.

Take the Warning Signs Seriously

If your car is showing you that it is having problems, believe it. Pay attention to how your brakes are working. Make sure they are working as well as they usually do. Ensure they are inspected regularly and taken in for maintenance immediately. If you hear scrubbing or feel vibrations, or if they are not stopping your car the way they should, your brakes should be replaced.

By paying attention to the warning signs your vehicle is exhibiting, you and the motorists with whom you share the road will all be safer. Find a trusted brake specialist to maintain your brake system through regular maintenance, like having brake pads replaced and having rotors resurfaced is necessary. This can prevent a brake failure before it happens.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.