Signs of a brake replacement can include a wide variety of things. When you notice a noise, difference in performance, or burning smell when driving, get a brake check right away. A brake inspection is one of those routine maintenance chores you just cannot ignore. Brake parts have a life span and they do need to be regularly serviced and sometimes replaced to work properly. Your brakes are one of the most important safety components in your vehicle.
Brake Light On
When one of the red or yellow brake indicators on your dashboard lights up it may mean you are just due for an inspection. It could also be your vehicle’s smart electronics alerting you to a problem. An engaged parking brake could also cause the light to go on. Be sure it is fully released to confirm that’s not the issue.
Squealing, Squeaking or Grinding Noises
If you start hearing a high-pitched noise that stops when you apply the brakes that’s likely the sound of the brake pad wear indicators. They’re made of steel so they make this sound when they start contacting the rotor. They are letting you know that your pads are worn out and need to be replaced before you get rotor damage, which can be an expensive fix.
Grinding that you also feel in the pedal could mean a number of things. There could just be some gravel or a rock caught in the caliper unit. The brake pads may be worn through, and you’re hearing metal on metal that could be creating grooves in the brake rotor. Grinding could also be an indicator of lack of lubrication in vehicles with rear drum brakes. The brake shoe (the component that presses on the rotor to slow the vehicle) could be scraping on metal contact points like the backing plate, due to rust. If you hear any of these sounds, get your brakes looked at right away to head off more expensive problems.
Vibrations when Braking
Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when you apply the brakes may be the result of an uneven rotor. Brake rotors are big discs that sit inside of the wheels. When you hit the brake pedal, the brake pads hug the rotors, slowing them and your vehicle. You want rotors to be smooth and completely even in thickness. Over time and thousands of wheel revolutions, it’s normal for the rotor surface to get slight variations. Rust can also sometimes develop.