Aaron Widmar
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3 Signs Your Car Needs Its Brakes Serviced ASAP

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Service technician looking at a vehicle's brake pads.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your car’s brakes

Think of the countless times you tap the brake pedal every time you drive. It shouldn’t be a surprise that such constant wear can result in depleted or damaged brake components, like the pads or rotors. If you’re concerned that your vehicle’s brake system might need a service tune-up, look for these three warning signs.

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Grinding or screeching

If you feel a grinding sensation or hear a shrill noise when you apply the brakes, these could be due to worn brake pads.

Why is this loud whirring an indicator of deficient pads? Most brake pads include a component called an indicator. When the soft metal pads are worn down to around 1/4 inch, the indicator strip rubs against the metal rotor, causing vibration and screeching. Brakes are designed this way on purpose to alert you before it’s too late.

Keep in mind that this sound is different from the loud shriek that wet brakes make when you drive your car after it’s sat in the rain. You can tell because this grinding sound does the opposite: It continues to get louder the more you drive, not quieter.

Veers to the side

If your vehicle pulls to the left or right when you depress the brake pedal, the brakes might not be evenly worn. One pad might be more effective at slowing the wheel’s spin than the other, causing one to slow down faster than the other.

Or, there could be a foreign substance tainting the brake fluid that’s cycling through the system, causing one side to be less effective than the other.

A mechanic can determine if your car’s brakes require adjusting or if the brake fluid needs to be drained and replaced.

Takes more time to stop

If the brake pedal almost touches the floorboard when you decelerate the car or you have to use extreme pressure to get the car to stop, those are signs of a leak in the brakes or heavily worn pads. Check underneath your vehicle for a puddle of oil to confirm a leak. In this scenario, you should have your car looked at as soon as possible.

You should always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out when it’s is due for brake replacements. Neglecting to do so can be dangerous for yourself and others on the road.

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