When to Check Your Brakes: 5 Easy Indicators


Brake pads, rotors, and parts are not the most attractive or most appealing part of your car, but they are one of the most important.  The difference between working brakes and those in need of repair could also be the difference between a safe halt at a stop sign and a rear-end collision.  Maintaining the functionality of your brakes is essential in keeping both you and your car healthy.  By using the following five indicators, you will become an expert on when it is time to examine your brake pads, rotors, and other assorted brake parts.

 Brake Pedal Issues

Your brake pedal itself can serve as a key indicator to the health of your brakes.  If the pedal is hard to press down or begins to feel a bit strange when you apply pressure, you likely have a problem with your brake parts.  Oftentimes repairs indicated by pedal issues can be traced back to the brake lines or potentially low brake fluid – both of which are easy fixes if caught early.

 Visually Check the Brake Pads

Brake pads are located between each wheel’s caliper and rotor and can often be seen by looking between the spokes of your wheel.  Some vehicles may require you to remove the tire to get a good look but, once you do, the pads themselves should be at least 6/10 of a centimeter thick.  If they appear less than that you should seriously consider replacing them.

 Strange Sounds

When driving, there are two specific sounds you should be listening for that will indicate the need to replace your brake pads.  A high-pitched squeal often indicates that your brake pads are getting low and are in need of replacement.  A louder grinding sound likely means that your brake pads are completely worn and metal is grinding on metal.  This could turn a cheap brake pad fix into a more serious maintenance issue.


If you notice your car pulling in one direction or another when braking, this also indicates a need to check your brakes.  Potential brake problems that result in you car pulling to one side include maladjustment, fluid leakage, worn brake parts, or jammed calipers.

 Unusual Vibrations

If your steering wheel, pedals, or car vibrate when braking, take this as a sure fire sign that your brakes need to be checked.  The likely cause of these vibrations is from warped brake rotors, and this typically occurs when the rotors are put under extreme stress for long periods of time.  Driving through the mountains or braking often while towing a heavy load can cause the brake rotors to warp.

While perhaps not fashionable, maintaining your brake pads, rotors, and parts is an absolute essential part of vehicle maintenance.  By using the above five indicators as signs for brake maintenance you will not only keep your car running smoothly but also save a lot of money by fixing minor issues before they transform into major problems.