How Do I Know If I Need New Brakes?

Sun Auto Service Expert, published on 03/19/2015

Navigating the complexity of vehicle repair and maintenance can be overwhelming. Preventative maintenance and proper care will extend the life of your vehicle. Fortunately, worn brakes usually offer telltale signs of a need for brake repair or replacement. We have the answer to the question you may be asking, “How do I know if I need new brakes?” Here are some signs that you may or may not need new brakes and what to listen, look, and feel for:

  • Have a Listen: An inspection is due if you are hearing what sounds like screeching or squealing loud enough for you to hear with your windows up. If your brake pads are worn, you’ll hear a rumbling, grinding sound. We recommend an inspection as soon as possible. However, this sound can be heard too if your vehicle has had long-time exposure to moisture such as rain. Exposure to frequent moisture causes a thin layer of rust to develop on the rotor resulting in the same grinding, rumbling sound. Luckily, the layer of rust can and will wear down while driving, virtually eliminating the noise.
  • Have a Look: Most cars these days will alert your requirement for new brakes by a brake warning light. Any brake-related warning light could indicate different issues that would require further inspection. Having your brakes inspected during each maintenance oil change is the best way to monitor brake wear and most accurately anticipate any needed repairs.  Lastly, residue of brake fluid on your driveway after being parked is an indication that it’s time your vehicle receive an immediate inspection. Please note that leaking brake fluid is cause for concern and for your safety, we do not recommend driving your vehicle if this occurs.  
  • How They Feel: If you feel as if your brakes are not as responsive as they once were--or perhaps overly responsive, we recommend that you have your brakes inspected as soon as possible. Likewise, do you feel a sinking feeling from the brake pedal as it is depressed, or a noticeable vibration? These are clear indications that your brake system has been compromised. Lastly, if your vehicle pulls to one side as you are braking, your brakes could have malfunctioning calipers or a contaminated brake surface.

If you notice any of the signs above, we highly recommend an inspection by a trained professional. Sun Auto Service’s ASE Certified Technicians can identify problem areas and can assist in the prevention of safety issues that result from worn or damaged brake components. Frequent, professional inspections can help you avoid unnecessary repairs that can be very costly. Our professional, brake experts provide service for most kinds of vehicles, including anti-lock brake systems (ABS). Make an appointment or stop into a Sun Auto Service location near you to ensure your brakes are performing safely and efficiently. Visit our offers page to print out our current brake specials!