Taking your car into the shop is never fun–but delaying will only make matters worse. If you’ve noticed any of these warning signs, then you should get your brakes looked at by a professional.
Not only will you be safer on the road, but you could also save a lot of money by catching the issue early.
The most obvious sign that something is wrong? A warning light on your dashboard. You might get a red or yellow warning light indicating that there is a problem with your brakes. However, the light might also be part of an automatic system to remind you of regular maintenance.
In either case, if you see a warning light, take your vehicle to have it serviced. Never ignore these indicators.
There are several noises that could indicate brake problems. A squealing, metallic sound when you hit the brakes is often caused by worn brake pads. If you hear this sound, then you probably need to replace those pads. The sound could also be caused by rust build-up on your rotors.
A grinding noise, on the other hand, could be a sign of a more serious problem. While it’s possible that you have a small piece of rock or debris caught in the brake calipers, it could also mean that your brake pads are completely worn out. If that happens, you may be causing damage to the brake rotors every time you slow down or stop.
Vibrating or Shaking
If your brake pedal or steering column shakes when braking, it could be an issue with warped rotors. Extreme friction–from braking too hard over a long period of time, for example–can warp the rotors.
Pulling or Yanking
When you hit the brakes, does it feel like your vehicle wants to pull to the left or right? That might mean one of two things. Either your brake linings are wearing unevenly, or there’s an issue with your brake fluid. A mechanic may need to flush the brake fluid and replace it, or the brake system may need adjusting.
Failing to Respond
The scariest warning sign of brake problems is when the brake pedal fails to respond normally. If your brakes seem to be responding slowly or unpredictably, don’t wait to get them checked. It could be something as simple as a leaky air hose, or you could be leaking brake fluid without realizing it.