3 Ways to Tell If You Need New Brakes
Your vehicle has one key safety feature – the brakes. Your brakes need to be prepared for sudden braking, rapid cornering, and necessary stopping. For your own safety, as well as the safety of your passengers and other drivers on the road, monitor your brakes regularly to make sure they’re functioning well at all times.
The brake system converts kinetic energy into thermal energy (heat). Each component of the system requires precise engineering and manufacturing to stop your vehicle on time. The brake pedal connects to the master cylinder, which is connected to four brake lines leading to each wheel.
When the driver presses the brake pedal, the master cylinder pressurizes the hydraulic brake lines, which forces brake pads (aka “shoes”) to press against the rotors responsible for turning the wheels. When the brake pads press against the rotors like this, they create kinetic energy through friction, which slows the vehicle down.
Over time, the heat generated from braking wears down the brake pads and rotors. You’ll know it’s time to replace the brakes when you experience any of these tell-tale signs:
Your vehicle’s electronic diagnostic system should alert you to a potential brake issue by the service indicator light on the dashboard. However, if your car has an electrical problem, the light might not turn on, so you can’t depend on it solely.
If your brakes squeal or grind when you use them, then your brake pads are probably too worn and require replacements. If your vehicle pulls to one side during braking, then you might have worn brakes, a malfunctioning caliper, or low brake fluid in the brake lines.
If your brake pedal presses down too easily – also known as “spongy” brakes – then you have too much air in the hydraulic brake lines.
These items are only some of the signs of potential brake problems. If you pay attention to your brake system and immediately seek out brake service when you think something is wrong, you can potentially save money by protecting your car from more serious conditions in the future.
Written on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 by