Something is up with your car — your wheel is shaking when braking, you aren’t stopping as quickly, you’re hearing a squeak or a grinding noise. Could the brakes need fixing?
You need to be able to stop about 4,000 pounds of steel hurtling down the highway at 60 or more miles per hour – on a dime, every time. Only brakes that are well maintained can do that.
If the brake light on your dashboard just clicked on, the answer is obvious, but your brakes may be trying to signal you in subtler ways that they need attention:
- How do they sound? If they’re squealing or grinding, you have a problem. A squeal means your brake pads have worn down to the low pad indicator and need replacing. A harsh grinding noise means you’ve gone right through the pads and the metal backing of the brake pad is now contacting the metal rotors, possibly damaging the rotors – a more extensive repair.
- If your car pulls to the right or left when you brake or drive, without your turning the wheel, a brake problem could be why – maybe a stuck caliper, a collapsed brake hose, or uneven brake pads. Of course, it could also be trouble with the suspension, uneven tire wear, or an off alignment. But brakes are a safety issue, so cross that off the list first.
- Does your brake pedal vibrate? That usually means your rotors are warped from heat stress, the kind you get when you’re driving down a steep hill or stopping a lot in traffic while towing something heavy. If either of those activities were part of your recent vacation or work plans, the answer is pretty clear. If not, your wheels may be misaligned. A brake mechanic can tell you.
- Does your brake pedal turn to mush – or catch too hard – when you try to stop? Well-maintained brakes grab firmly and ease the car to a timely stop. Soft brakes could mean worn brake pads or a hydraulic system leak, which you can check with an old sheet laid under the car overnight. A hard brake pedal usually indicates a faulty brake booster.
Are you experiencing any of these issues? Be sure to call Brakes To Go with all your braking questions. Call our San Antonio location at 210-775-6000 or our Austin location at 512-585-1845 for a free quote and we’ll get a technician right out for a free brake inspection – that’s right, we come to you!