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Stay Safe on the Road: Key Indicators Your Car Needs Brake Service


Keeping your vehicle’s brake system in top shape is vital for your peace of mind when driving.  Brakes naturally wear down after some time and require repair or replacement for efficient functioning. Recognising the signs below can indicate your car needs brake service to prevent accidents and costly repairs.

Here are signs of how to tell when it’s time for new brakes:

Visual Brake Inspection

You can carry out an inspection of your braking system if you notice issues in your brakes.

  • Check the brake fluid. Make sure the fluid level is between the minimum and maximum marks on the reservoir. Check also for fluid contamination. If the fluid appears dark, it may need replacing.
  • Inspect the brake pads. Brake pads worn down to less than 4mm thick need replacement. You can measure their thickness by looking through the wheel spokes or removing the wheel for a closer inspection.
  • Examine the brake rotors. The surface of the rotors should be smooth. If you see grooves or ridges, the rotors are already worn and may need resurfacing or replacing.

Listening to Audible Alerts

Paying attention to the noises when stepping on the brake pedal can also give clues about its condition.

  • Squealing or Screeching. Hearing this noise may mean worn-down brake pads. This noise occurs when the wear indicator comes in contact with the rotor, signalling you need to replace the pads.
  • Grinding. This sound may mean more severe brake problems. Grinding is usually an indication of completely worn-down brake pads. The noise emanates from the metal backing plate coming into contact with the rotor, causing significant damage that requires immediate attention.

Brake Performance Issues

Changes in braking performance are another indication that your brakes need servicing.

  • Reduced responsiveness. When you feel the brakes require more pressure, it may mean worn-out brake pads or air in the brake lines.
  • The vehicle pulls to one side when braking. It can indicate uneven wear on the brake pads or damage to the brake caliper.
  • Vibrations or pulsations in the brake pedal. These are signs of warped rotors, which can result from prolonged exposure to heat or uneven wear. When you feel this, seek professional help for a possible rotor resurfacing or replacement.

Check Dashboard Indicators

Modern vehicles have dashboard indicators that alert you to potential brake issues.

  • The brake warning light is on. It signals a problem within the braking system. Check your brake fluid level and have your brakes inspected immediately.
  • The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) light is on. It indicates an issue with the ABS. When this happens, seek professional help to diagnose and fix the problem.

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensuring a reliable brake system. Ideally, you should follow your car manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, which usually includes brake inspections at specific intervals.

Addressing brake issues promptly will prevent more costly repairs, keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently, and life-threatening road accidents.

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