It's easy to fuss over the lifespan of your brakes, especially if you're the type of person who gets easily intimidated by automotive repair. As you drive along, you check the odometer and think, "Are my brakes supposed to be good for 30,000 miles? Or was it 50,000 miles? And when did I have them installed, anyway?" While knowing this information is certainly beneficial, a key advantage concerning your brakes is they'll often let you know when they're reaching the end of their life. All you have to do is be receptive to the signs.
Keep Your Ears Open
Listen intently when you apply the brakes as you approach an intersection. If you hear a loud grinding sound, it's a pretty good indicator that your brake pads are shot, and driving with your brakes in this condition for too long can harm your rotors, too. Grinding noises aren't the only auditory signal that it's time to visit the mechanic. Brakes that squeak or squeal are reaching the end of their life; the sound is the result of a metal indicator rubbing to alerts you to the condition of your brakes. If you typically drive with the radio turned up, lower the volume on occasion to help you listen for brake sounds.
Feel the Vibrations
Ever brake to a stop and feel as though riding on a road paved with marbles? You can expect to feel this vibration when your brake rotors are warped. As the pads pass over the rotors, the warped surface causes the vibration, which you can often feel in your body once you press the brake pedal. Warped rotors will often need to be replaced, and continuing to drive with your rotors in poor condition can damage the pads, too.
Check For Pulling
It's no fun hitting the brakes and feeling your car pull to one side, especially when that one side is toward traffic coming at you on the left. Although a car that pulls as you brake can have alignment issues, the cause is often worn brake pads. When the brake pads wear unevenly, they cause your car to pull in either direction once you press the brake pedal.
Too Much Pressure
If you feel as though you have to practically stand on the brake pedal to get the car stopped, it's time to drive straight to the mechanic. Reduced response is a serious indicator that your brakes need attention, and it's unsafe to be behind the wheel with brakes that don't allow you to stop in a safe distance. Take your car to a shop like Elkhart Auto Center as soon as possible.