Is it time for a Brake Check up?

Is it time for a Brake Check up?

April 14, 2016

It’s a beautiful day and you’re driving down the highway at exactly 55 miles an hour, enjoying the spring air and checking out which farmers have started their field work.  It’s a perfect day. Until that skunk decides to cross the road in front of you.

When you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, your vehicle will take the length of a football field (approximately) to stop – IF your brakes are well maintained.  A close encounter with a skunk  is not the time to discover your brakes need to be replaced. Need an earlier sign that it’s time to inspect, and possible replace, your brakes?


Check out these tips.

NOISES.  Turn off the music and listen for a high-pitched sequel from the wear indicator.  Another sound to listen for is a harsh grinding sound, which indicates that your pads are completely worn out and you are now grinding metal rotors. 

PULLING  If your car pulls to the left or right when you hit the brakes, it could indicate a problem with your calipers or a collapsed brake house or uneven brake pads.

LOW/SOFT  or HARD PEDAL or SENSITIVE BRAKES.  A mushy pedal, when you push your brake practically to the floor before it engages, or the opposite, a touchy brake pedal that seems to grab instantly can indicate several issues.  You could have a problem with your hydraulic system, brake fluid or contamination.  Sometimes all you need is an inexpensive change of fluid.

VIBRATIONS.  You may have felt a vibration when you slam on the brakes to avoid the skunk, but if you feel this vibration under normal braking, you could have warped rotors or misaligned wheels.  In either case, it’s time for an inspection.

BRAKE LIGHT ON.  Those indicator lights are not just to use up space on your dashboard.  New on-board computer systems are a great way to start the diagnosis process.  They are not the complete answer but offer a clue.

April is national Spring Car Care Month.  Stop by our blog all month long for great maintenance tips. Looking for more tips? Start here.  Have more questions?  Find an Arnold Motor Supply or Auto Value Parts Store near you, we are your neighbors and friends and are committed to keeping you safe on the road.