Hey Fort Collins, Ready for Summer? Better get those Brakes up to Par
It's no secret that brakes need to be replaced occasionally, right? But it's not uncommon for people to wait a little too long to replace their brakes. They get busy and decide to put it off until they have a serious problem, like brakes that don't stop quickly enough and endanger their lives. If you know what signs to look for, you can be proactive and stop your car before it's too late. Let's look at some tell-tale signs you need to have your brakes looked at by a trained local Fort Collins auto mechanic.
1. Your car pulls to one side when you brake
The most common reason for this is that your brakes are wearing down unevenly, but it could also be due to a problem with the brake system, suspension, alignment, tires, or steering. The only way to know for sure what's causing the pull is to have a mechanic look at it.
As mentioned, if your brakes are wearing unevenly, it could mean one of your axles needs repair or replacement. If they're wearing evenly and you still feel a pull, there are several other possible causes--from irregular tire wear to something as serious as transmission failure.
In all cases of pulling while braking (and any other kind of pulling), it's important to let a mechanic look at it as soon as possible because an out-of-whack vehicle can be difficult and/or dangerous to drive.
2. You hear a noise when you brake
Squeaky brakes are a common sign of wear and tear. You may hear a grinding noise, squeaking, or squealing when you brake. A high-pitched squeal when you press the brakes is usually due to worn pads. If this happens, stop driving and have your car inspected as soon as possible.
Brake pads worn down to the metal can damage rotors (the discs your brake pads connect with) or drums (found on older cars). You could also hear grinding sounds if the rotors and drums don't line up correctly.
It's important to get new brakes on your vehicle when you notice problems. While it may be tempting to wait until you can afford repairs, driving with bad brakes can be dangerous for you and others around you. Without them, you have no way to stop!
3. When you press the brake pedal, it doesn't feel right
If your car's brakes don't feel right, it's time to get them checked. Braking should be smooth, and the brake pedal should feel firm--not rock hard or like there's no resistance. If your pedal feels overly soft, spongy, or loose, that could mean trouble. Another concern is a brake pedal that feels too firm or rock-hard when you press down on it.
All of these issues can mean you need new brake pads or rotors, which are both important parts of your braking system.
4. Your brake warning light is on
The brake warning light tells you when something is wrong with your brakes. If the light comes on, take your car in for a checkup. Don't ignore it! Driving around with worn-out brakes can lead to an accident. The brake warning light functions as a second pair of eyes, so listen to what it's telling you and get that car checked out.
5. It takes longer to stop than usual
In the same way, you might feel a car pulling to one side or another when your alignment is off, worn brake pads can cause a car to pull in one direction or another. When you apply the brakes, a vehicle without proper alignment will want to keep going straight, rather than stopping. A mechanic can inspect your brakes and alert you of any problems that need attention immediately.
It's always good practice (and oftentimes required) to have your brakes inspected with every oil change so that they don't become an issue while you're driving down the road. Take care of this issue before something bad happens!
Beyond the safety factor, there are several other reasons to care about your brakes:
- The cost of a brake repair is relatively low compared to other car repairs.
- Poor brakes can increase the risk of an accident.
- New brakes make for better driving.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many signs that your brakes need attention. If you ignore them in hopes they will go away, it is inevitable that your car's braking system will start to fail. When it does, you can expect a headache you didn't want. It is more cost-effective and convenient to regularly inspect your brake pads and shoes and get them serviced or replaced when necessary by a certified ASE Fort Collins Mechanic.
Weston Auto Service is an auto repair specialist located in Fort Collins, Colorado. We are ASE-certified mechanics specializing in foreign and domestic auto repair. For a free diagnostic and full analysis of your car problem please contact us or call us at 970-377-3333.
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