Brakes are one of the most crucial components of a car resulting in the direct safety of the driver and occupants. It also depends upon your driving and the other conditions that prevail which affect the conditions of the brake. There will be several signs that will indicate the brake pads are beginning to wear out; pay little attention and you will be able to identify the symptoms indicating worn out brakes well in advance.
Most cars come with a combination of disc and drum brakes in the front and rear respectively. Certain cars come with disc brakes on all four wheels. The disc brakes are made up of 3 major components namely the disc rotor, brake pad and caliper. Here the calipers are like clamps holding the brake pads that grasp the rotor to bring a vehicle to halt. While the drum brake comes with brake shoes, springs, wheel cylinder and much more all housed in a drum. Here the shoes press the inner surface of the drum to stop the vehicle.
If you have any of the following signs coming from your brakes, consider it as a warning sign to get them checked and replaced.
1. Worn out brake pads
The brakes make a harsh grinding sound when driving. The result is after your brake pads have been completely worn out and are grinding with the metal rotor. Not only your stopping power is compromised, you will end up damaging the rotor as well resulting in expensive repairs.
2. Lack of brake fluid
If your foot completely depresses on the brake pedal and the brakes still don’t engage, this could be due to lack of brake fluid in the braking system. Brake fluids increase the life of the braking system of your car and move the component in the braking system. The lack of it can render your brakes useless. Eventually your brakes will be so damaged, you will have to replace them. Top off the brake fluid if you don’t find any in your brake fluid reservoir with the recommended DOT rating for your car. If you are losing fluid constantly, there could be a possible leakage which you should sort out immediately.
3. Vibrating brake pedal
If the brake pedal vibrates frequently during braking, it could be due to distorted rotors on the brakes. This is possible if the brakes are being constantly used under heavy stress and have not been maintained over a long period. The brake pads may be completely worn out and need to be replaced. You may have to get the rotor polished or replaced which is an expensive affair. If your steering wheel or the entire car shakes when braking, it could also be a result of distorted motors and will need to replacement.
4. Stuck caliper
A stuck caliper can lead to the brake being stuck and pulling the car to the side of the road when braking. In such a scenario, you need to get the calipers checked and serviced immediately. The caliper may be stuck due to worn out tyres, poor alignment of wheels or could be due to a faulty suspension. A stuck caliper will also deplete the brake pads faster.
5. Unpredictable brake pedal
If the brake pedal goes too soft or too hard, it is time to get the brakes inspected. Too soft brakes could be due to leaking of brake fluid, worn out pads or air in the hydraulic system causing the pedal to be soft. Whereas a hard pedal is a sign of a worn out rotor, moisture in the brake fluid or dirty brake fluid which needs replacement. In either of the cases, it shows a service of the braking system is impending.
Get your brakes checked or do them yourself on a regular basis at least twice a year to ensure they are not worn out; especially if you are clocking in higher number of kilometres every month. It is absolutely essential that the brake pads are replaced at the latest when the thickness remaining on the pad is 2 mm.