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Signs That Your Brakes Need Inspecting

Brake Light On

Cars experience normal wear and tear throughout their lifespan. It's important to get your oil changed and your tires checked out, but one crucial thing to pay attention to is the health of your tires. When driving, it could be the difference between a life or death. Getting them checked and serviced by a professional ensures a high level of safety for you and your passengers when traveling by car.

"When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is a the top of the list, so have your brakes checked by an auto service professional at least once a year. Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road."

Rich White
Executive Director, Car Care Council

The Car Care Council outlined signs that indicate your brakes might need to be inspected. These simple signals help everyday car owners stay attentive when approaching issues regarding their brakes.

Most people are unnerved when they hear their car screech, grind, or click when applying pressure to their brakes. It's completely natural to do so, because it means your brake pad is completely worn down and needs to be inspected. Another loud noise that might stir some concern is vibration. A vibrating brake bar is a sign of warped rotors. When the surfaces are uneven, they will thrum against the pads, and you will experience the feedback as vibration pulses through the brake pedal.

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If your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, it could be another sign the system needs to be inspected. There's a bunch of reasons why your brakes may be pulling: a clipper might be stuck or there's an uneven amount of pressure on different wheels. Regardless, this little observation may be indicating your brakes are under a lot of stress.

The third indicator listed is a low pedal, or a brake that only engages once it's nearly on the floor. This could be an issue with the hydraulic system. Common issues would include a brake fluid leak, an air leak, and an air in the line. If you want to do a fast check for fluid leakage, place a white sheet or white cardboard under the vehicle overnight and look for brake fluid that drips. Brake fluid is clear and has the consistency of cooking oil. A hard pedal is the opposite, one that you need to press onto with a lot of pressure before it reacts. Both of these indicators communicate that the brakes need to be fixed or changed.

If your brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal, meaning your car would slow down at even the slightest amount of pressure, this this is a sign of wear. Lastly, the most obvious signal – if the brake light is illuminated on your dash, you should take your vehicle in to be serviced.

Brakes are a normal wear item on any vehicle and will eventually need to be replaced. Factors that can affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. When checking the functionality of your brakes, take into consideration these different factors. However, most importantly, make sure you're following the guidelines outlined by the Car Care Council to make certain your brakes are in safe-working condition.

This article was written with the help and resources from the non-profit Car Care Council. The "Be Car Care Aware" campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry.

The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To view the Car Care Council's consumer education website, visit www.carcare.org 

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