Give Me A “Brake”

We all get into our comfortable every day routine, and go about our business. We jump in our car’s, start them, and take off to tend to life’s daily tasks without even a thought. What we don’t often think about is the health of our car until we hear a strange noise, false odor, or it just won’t start for us. Regular vehicle maintenance is so important not only for the health and welfare of your car, but you and your family’s safety. Let’s talk about how to know when you need new brakes.

Look and Listen

There are 2 ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes: by looking and by listening. First, check for wear by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. Generally, there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If you see less than 1/4 inch of pad, you may want to have your brake pads inspected or replaced.

Hearing a high-pitched screeching sound when you apply your brakes isn’t a good sign. That small metal shim, called an indicator, gives you an audible warning that you need to replace your brake pads. You should be aware of this sound (so turn your radio down once in a while), and if you hear it regularly, quickly make an appointment with your mechanic.

Reduced Responsiveness

If the pedal “sinks” toward the floor, or your brakes just don’t seem as responsive as they used to be, this could mean you have a leak in the braking system. A telltale sign of a brake fluid leak is the presence of a small puddle of fluid when the car is parked. Brake fluid looks similar to fresh motor oil.

Grinding or Squealing

This nasty metallic sound means that you have worn down the pads completely, most likely beyond replacement. The grinding or squealing noise is caused by the disc and the caliper rubbing together. If this happens, it could be possible that you need your rotors replaced.


Warped rotors will create a vibration or pulsating in the brake pedal. The vibration will feel similar to the feedback in the brake pedal during a sudden stop in a vehicle equipped with anti-lock brakes.

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Brake Repair