Do I need my brakes checked?
The brakes on your car are the most important safety feature it has. It is critical that you properly maintain your brakes, servicing them when needed. Know the warning signs of needing brake service so that you can be proactive about getting brake repairs. The experts at your local Southern California Ford Dealers are here to help you save money on your brakes and keep you safe.
There are a few telltale signs that your brakes need servicing. Essentially, any symptoms that are out of the normal are causes for concern. This may include grinding, excess noise, issues braking, warning lights, vibrations, or burning smells. It’s also important to understand how critical certain brake issues are, so that you may act accordingly. We are here to outline some of the most common brake issues, the most common symptoms, and how imperative these issues can be.
Squealing or squeaking brakes are a sign that your brake pads need to be replaced. Modern brake pads have built in wear indicators that make an audible sound to let you know they need replacing. The high-pitched squeal comes from a small metal tab that rubs against the brake rotor once the braking material has worn down on the pad. If you hear this squeal when braking, its time to have them checked.
If you ignore the signs of your brake pads wearing down, the squealing sound may turn into something more sinister. Grinding brakes are often a sign that there is no more braking material left on the brake pads. If your brakes have gotten to the point that they are grinding, you have waited too long, and you need to have new pads put on immediately. Grinding brake pads also cause damage to the rotors, and may cost you more to replace or refinish the rotors as well.
Spongy Brake Pedal
If your brakes feel “soft”, or like there is too much pedal travel, there may be an issue with the hydraulic system. If air or water is introduced into the hydraulic brake fluid, it will compress unlike the brake fluid and take away braking power. It may also be a sign that they hydraulic system has a leak and is allowing air to enter the system. If your brake pedal gradually became soft, the issue is less dire but needs addressing. If there is a sudden loss in braking power, you need to stop and have it inspected immediately.
A visual inspection can tell you about the condition of the braking system. If you suspect your brake pads are wearing down, check for thinning brake pads. They should also not be less than 1/8 of an inch in thickness. Many newer vehicles have cutouts on the brake caliper that allow you to see the condition of your brake pads. You can also visually inspect for brake fluid leaks, low brake fluid levels, and check to see if there are any obvious signs of damage to the brake system.
New brakes are a worthy investment to make in your vehicle, and it is a cost that you should anticipate and will want to prepare for. Waiting too long to have your brake system inspected and maintained can have dangerous consequences. There is good news, however. A well-maintained brake system will be affordable and easier to maintain over the lifespan of the vehicle. You will have fewer major repairs if you keep the rotors in good condition, replace the brake pads when needed, and have your vehicle inspected on a regular basis. Your local Southern California Ford Dealers are happy to help with your car care and maintenance needs. Call or come in today to schedule an appointment with our car care specialists.