You depend on your brakes for stopping you at traffic lights and during emergency situations, such as having a small child dart out in front of you on a residential road. However, if your brakes aren't working properly, you run the risk of hurting yourself and others. To keep your brakes in good working order, be aware of the following five signs that they may need attention.
You Have To Push Harder On The Brake Pedal To Stop
Whenever you come up to an intersection, you may start noticing that you have to push your foot down harder on the brake pedal to bring your car to a full stop. If so, you can check the brake fluid to make sure your vehicle's level is not too low. If it is, there may not be enough pressure to make your brakes work properly, making you have to push the pedal harder.
If you find that the brake fluid level is low, find the reservoir for the fluid and add enough to reach the full line on the dipstick. If you still find that your brakes are not engaging, there could be a more serious problem that needs the attention of a mechanic.
You Notice It Takes Longer To Come To A Complete Stop
Along with having to apply more pressure, you may notice that it takes longer for you to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. While this could also be caused by low brake fluid, another reason you may be having trouble is that your brake pads are starting to wear down and have become too thin or ragged.
Check your brake pads without taking the wheels off. If you suspect they are the problem, you may want to take them to a brake repair shop to have them replaced.
Your Brakes Screech When You Apply Them
Another sign that your brakes are no longer working right is a loud, intermittent screeching noise you may hear when you apply the brake pedal. This is an indicator that your brake pads have become so thin that some of the metal on the brakes beneath the pad are starting to come into contact with the disc.
If this is the case, the pads should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the brakes themselves. This would require that the entire brake system be replaced.
You Find Metal Shavings On Your Wheels
If you hear the screeching noises as described in the last section, look for fine metal shavings on your tires and wheels. You can do this by taking a gloved hand or smooth cloth and wiping the wheels.
If metal shavings are present, this means that the brakes are rubbing against the discs. You may want to have a brake repair service take a look at them as soon as possible to prevent irreparable damage.
You Hear Metal Grinding While Your Car Is Stopping
If you hear metal grinding whenever you try to stop your car, especially when combined with one or more of the above signs, your brakes are in serious need of attention. Most likely, the brake pads have completely worn down, and the metal on the brakes and discs are starting to cut into one another. You are likely in imminent danger of not being able to stop your car at all, so you should not drive your car until you can have them replaced.
If you notice one or more of the above signs, your brakes may need to be repaired or replaced. You may want to schedule an appointment at a brake repair service to have them inspected as soon as possible.