Factors That Determine You Need a Change of Brakes


There are several signs that indicate it is time to change the brakes on your vehicle. One of the most obvious signs is a squeaking, or grinding noise when you apply pressure to the brakes. The noise may be intermittent at first, but it will gradually become more consistent, and louder, as the brakes continue to worsen. This noise indicates the brake pads are wearing and needs replaced. This is the best time to fix your brakes. At this point, brake pad replacement is usually the only thing that will need done to fix the problem.

When you apply your brakes and the car starts to vibrate, this may be another indication you need new brakes. The shaking motion of your car, feels like you are slowing down on a washboard. Mechanics refer to the washboard motion as chatter. The vibration can range from barely noticeable to severe. If the vibration continues for too long, you will probably need to have the rotors turned or replace them. The longer you drive with wearing brakes, the bigger the chance for extended damage that will take longer to fix and cost more money.

On some occasions, bad brakes will cause your vehicle to pull to the left or right upon application. At times, the bad brakes may cause a grabbing sensation. This is a sign that one brake has more wear than the one on the opposite side of the vehicle. It is best to change brake pads on both sides of the vehicle at the same time.

When you put pressure on the brake pedal, take notice of any change in the function. Bad brakes can cause the brake pedal to go lower to the floor than normal, also described as a soft pedal. Bad brakes can slow response time, taking longer than normal to stop the car.

Periodically, check the tires and the ground where your car normally sits for any sign of fluid leakage. If there is a reddish colored fluid anywhere on the ground, or around the wheels, your brakes need checked for a leak. Even the emergency brake can indicate it is time to change your brakes. When you set the emergency brake, if it goes down lower than normal, it can be an indication of faulty brakes.

The more pressure you put on the brake pedal, the more severe the warning signs will be. The quicker and harder you push on the pedal, the more pronounced the chatter, pulling, and grabbing will be.

To change brake pads take the wheel off. Take four bolts out of the caliper that holds the brake pads in place. Once the pads and calipers are off, pull the rotor off. You need to check the rotors to see if they are okay. The rotor is a large circular piece of metal. Run your hands over the metal. If you feel any high or low spots, the rotors need turned or replaced. If the rotor needs turned, take them to someone who turns them. They will grind them off to make them smooth all the way around again. If the wear is too bad, a new rotor will need purchased. Put the rotor on, followed by the caliper, and then the brake pads. Put the tire back on and the job is complete.

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