Worn Brake Pads & Discs – What Are The Symptoms?

Brakes are the most important safety feature of your vehicle. They can wear differently depending on vehicle and driving conditions, so it’s important to know the signs of worn-out brakes. There are five major symptoms of worn brake pads & discs — and vehicle owners should be aware of all five.

Signs of Worn Brakes Pads & Discs — Car Squeals When Stopping

This is one of the most obvious signs that your brakes are in need of replacement. It’s actually a safety feature called a wear indicator. This small piece of metal comes attached to most brake pads. When the padding of friction material has worn past a certain point, this metal hits the disc. You’ll hear a squeal to alert you to the need for brake maintenance.

Vehicle Pulls to One Side When Stopping

This issue can have a variety of causes, but the most common is a stuck brake calliper. When this happens, the brakes never totally disengage, so you’re driving with a constant, slight pressure on the brakes. If you suspect this problem, try putting your hand near your wheels after you’ve just driven your car. Stuck brake callipers can cause heat to emanate from wheels after driving. A stuck calliper can cause a lot of wear on your brakes and transmission, so don’t wait to fix it.

Brake Pedal Feels Different

If your brake pedal is softer than normal or sinks to the floor, it’s a sign of serious trouble. It can mean a leaking master cylinder or brake lines. Check your brake fluid levels, looking especially for leaks near the pedal, and seek professional advice immediately. A pulsating brake pedal, meanwhile, usually indicates warped or out-of-tune brake rotors.

Steering Wheel Shakes When Stopping

This common problem is usually the result of warped front rotors or brake pad impressions. Since pads should be flat and even, impressions or indents can cause a shaky stop. Pad impressions can form when a vehicle sits for a prolonged period of time without being driven. This is especially common in hot temperatures and high humidity. Unless your brakes are rusty, this problem often requires only some refinishing work.

Entire Car Shakes When Stopping

This is usually an issue with the car’s rear brakes. Your rear brake drums might need resurfacing and replacement. These and other brake maintenance tasks can be done at home. But it’s much easier and safer to take it to the professionals.”

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