The braking system is one of the most important parts of a car. Poorly maintained braking systems spell doom for the car and other road users. As such, it is very important to ensure you have an efficient braking system. There are various ways to find out whether you need to replace your brake systems or not. You can either look or listen. And in some instances, use both.
When we talk about the braking system, one device that should never leave your mind is the brake pad. Brake pads are a critical part of the braking system that sits between the broken shoe and brake drum. A car cannot function efficiently without brake pads.
Essentially, faulty brake pads hinder the normal functioning of the car because they interfere with the rotors, discs and calipers. Due to this, having efficient braking pads plays a major role in reducing pricy repairs and preventing unsafe driving conditions. In as much as this is the case, the question that lingers is when do brake pads need to be replaced.
Reduction in responsiveness
Just like other parts of the car, brakes wear out. Whether made of ceramic, composite or metallic materials, brake pads eventually wear thin. The thinning process means that they cannot generate adequate heat brought about by friction thereby reducing their ability to bring that vehicle to a halt when need arises. When this happens, one of the signs you are likely going to notice is a reduction in the brake’s responsiveness. You can also note while driving down a hill and realize the need to apply more effort to bring the car to a halt.
In most cases, one indication that you need to replace brake pads is squealing and screeching. At times, you can also notice whining noise when engaging the brakes. This noise comes from small metallic shim indicators that are normally embedded to the brake pad. It is advisable to bring the car to a brake specialist when you start hearing these noises. However, it is also necessary to note that brakes tend to squeal when exposed to damp and wet conditions that occur after a rainstorm. During such incidences, the brakes do not squeal for long.
Pay attention to the indicator lights
Some cars come fitted with brake indicator lights on the dashboard. These indicator lights normally give a signal when the time to change them is due. When buying a car, it is advisable to check the manual and see whether it has a low-pad warning system. If it has and the lights fail to come on, it is time to pay attention. When this happens, ensure that you consult a mechanic to have those light sensors replaced alongside the brake pads.
Tip: Brake pads are an important part of the wheel. Tires are another important part and maybe you are interested to know the causes of uneven tire wear.
Vibrations when applying brakes
When you notice a pulsating brake pedal when braking, this is a sign of warped rotors. These vibrations also occur during a panic stop in vehicles that come equipped with anti-lock brakes. Occasional severe breaking over a long duration often warps car rotors. This is quite common when driving down steep mountains or hilly regions. Vibrations occur because brake pads lose the capacity to grab the surface evenly. For this reason, when driving in conditions, it is advisable to make stops so that you create time for the brakes to cool.
The pulling effect occurs when a car tends to pull to one side when you apply the brakes. This normally happens because of uneven distribution of brake linings. It also happens where the brake fluid contains foreign matter. In this case, your car needs to have its brakes adjusted or replace the fluid.
Listen to the growling or grinding sound
The grinding or growling sound gives a clear indication that you need to replace your brake pads. This noise occurs when two pieces of metal, which are the disc and caliper start rubbing against each other. Continued scratching of the rotors creates an uneven surface.
In conclusion, even though the brakes may not be one of the most attractive parts of your car, they are the most crucial. As such, it is vital to ensure that you pay maximum attention to the warning signs noted above. Failure to do this will mean you are courting danger on the road.