Do I Need Brakes Yet?
February 1st, 2016
In the course of a year, most drivers put about 12-15,000 miles on a vehicle. Over the course of that many miles, it’s estimated that a driver will typically apply the brakes 75,000 times. That might sound like a lot until you consider an 60-minute drive in rush hour traffic in Springfield, MO and how many ties you alternate between gas/brake, gas/brake, gas/brake…
It’s easy to put off brake repair and take your brakes for granted when they’re working fine. In addition, brakes wear down so gradually that it can be hard to spot brake problems as they develop. These are all some signs to watch out for, though:
· Noisy brakes – this doesn’t always mean that your brakes are worn out, since some brake pad materials are always a little noisy. The sounds to be alert for, though, are a loud groaning or squealing, or a metallic grating/grinding noise. The grinding is a particularly bad sign, as it means that your brake pads are worn down to the backing plates and the steel rivets in the plates are starting to dig into the surface of the brake rotors. Many brake pads are designed with a wear indicator, a spring-steel tab that protrudes from the backing plate at a right angle and is designed to make noise by dragging along the rotor when the pads reach a minimum thickness.
· Pull to one side – if you hit the brakes and the car tries to pull to one side, it could be due to an underinflated tire or worn steering parts. Often, though, it’s due to a sticking caliper or partly-collapsed brake line which is causing one front wheel’s brakes to drag and wear unevenly.
· Excessive brake pedal travel – if you have to depress the pedal farther before brakes engage, it means that the brake pistols are having to push the worn pads farther before they actually make contact with the rotors.
· Pulsating sensation through brake pedal – this is a sign that brake rotors are starting to warp and are no longer true. It can take no more than .05mm of side-to-side deflection to cause pulsation. Sometimes, the rotors can be machined again to bring them back into spec, but in many cases they’ll just have to be replaced as part of the brake job.
· Brake pedal feels “spongy” underfoot – this could indicate worn brakes or air that’s been introduced into the brake lines.
· Brake pedal feels “hard” and requires more effort – it doesn’t happen often, but sometimes the vacuum booster for power brakes can fail, requiring much more effort to stop the vehicle.
· Brake warning light on dashboard illuminated – if you’re seeing the Brake light on the dashboard lighting up, it usually means your brakes are pretty far gone and you’ll probably be noticing some of these other symptoms as well!
It’s important to start moving on brake problems early…not just for the obvious safety concerns, but because delay can mean a ruined set of rotors and a more expensive brake repair job. At JBC Tire Complete Auto Carein Springfield, MO, our service techs are trained and experienced in every aspect of brake repair. Don’t put it off, and don’t take chances – give us a call, make an appointment and let us get your brake issues sorted out.