In its simplest explanation - your vehicle’s brakes are what allow you to slow down and stop. Brake pad maintenance is essential for your safety as a driver or as a passenger. Brake pads are an integral part of our vehicles’ health but are often overlooked. Whether you are taking a summer road trip or a trip to the store, you use your car’s brakes. With every trip, your vehicle slightly wears away the brake pad material. Wear and tear add up, and when your brake pads reach certain thinness, it is vital to notice the symptoms of when it’s time to have them replaced.
Before you get up close and personal with your brake pads, here are some signs to look for if you are still driving:
- Check for any warning lights. If your brake warning light comes on in your car dashboard, your vehicle may be low on brake fluid.
Observe your brake pedal and steering wheel. If your brake pedal or the steering wheel is vibrating, that can signify that the brake pads have worn out. Your foot presses down lower when stepping on the brake pedal. When checking the steering wheel, it is also essential to note whether your car is pulling to one side. If the drive is not smooth and straight, it may signal the brake pads are more worn on one side.
Listen for noises coming from your brakes. Brake pads are designed to make noise as an early warning signal.As brakes begin to wear, they may whine or squeak. The more you drive, the louder this sound will get. Please note that sometimes brakes can make noise if they are wet due to dust build-up, and any noise should dissipate with a few stops. If the sound continues after a mile into your driving trip, there may be an issue with your brakes.
If you are already parked or have already safely pulled over:
- Inspect your wheels. If your wheels are cleaner or dirtier than usual, this may be a sign of a brake issue.
Inspect your brake pads. You should be able to see your brake pads when you look through one of your wheels. Your brake pads should not be less than 1/4th of an inch then. Most manufacturers recommend that you should have your brake pads replaced when they are 75% worn.
If you are not comfortable or confident checking your brake pads, take your vehicle to our local automotive experts. Replacing thin worn brake pads helps create a safe driving experience; it can also save money in the long run by preventing the avoidable cost of repairs.