How do you know if you need new brakes?

November 23 2018

Have you ever come to a stop and found that your vehicle’s brakes are vibrating or squealing? It can be disconcerting. After all, a working brake system is essential to your safety. But how exactly do brakes work and how can you tell when they need replacing?

The Brake Breakdown

Picking up on potential problems will likely be easier if you have a general understanding of your vehicle’s brake parts. A traditional brake system is composed of:  

  • Rotors (large metal discs), or in some systems, brake drums
  • Calipers
  • Pads that are designed to keep the caliper from rubbing the rotor
  • Brake lines

How Brakes Work

So how do all those parts work together to stop your car? When the brake pedal is pushed, hydraulic fluid moves through the brake lines to the caliper assembly. That pressure causes the calipers (with pads) to clamp down on the rotors and the vehicle is brought to a halt. 

Signs of Trouble

Usually, as brakes age, they’ll need some repairs. You’ll probably notice some telltale signs:

  • Grinding can result as pads wear out or if debris is sticking to your rotors.
  • Reduced brake pressure can mean a leak in the brake lines or some other fault in the system. If this occurs, get off the road immediately and call for professional assistance.
  • Squealing usually indicates that the brake pads are wearing thin, but this can also happen if the pads are coated in moisture, brake dust or other surface grime.
  • Vibrations often occur as excess friction warps the rotors, but anti-lock braking systems can also produce similar tremors. 

If your car is experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a service checkup as soon as you can. Please get in touch if you have any questions.

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