One of the most essential systems in your automobile is the braking system. That system consists of many parts which will need servicing and replacing for proper operation, but maintaining your brake pads is the first step in protecting the overall system. The frequency of changing your brake pads will depend on your daily driving habits, but they will usually last up to 50,000 miles.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, brake failure and degradation was noted as a pre-critical event contributing to accidents in 25% of reported incidents. Noticing any signs your brakes are not adequately functioning warrants a trip to an auto mechanic.
Signs That Your Brakes Need Immediate Attention
Your vehicle will offer clues that it is time to replace your brakes. Documenting your mileage can help you stay proactive in your car’s maintenance. What else might you notice when your brakes need replacing?
Slower Response Time
A slower response when braking is one of the first signs that can indicate your brakes need attention. Every time you brake, the responsiveness of your brakes fades. Certain terrains, such as mountainous locations, can add to more frequent braking when the grade changes.
Excessive braking can cause the brakes to become hot. Additionally, driving at inconsistent speeds can cause you to brake more often. Use cruise control to maintain an average speed on highways and interstates when possible.
A Pulling in the Front End
Brakes do not wear out evenly. Often, one of the first signs your brakes need attention is that your vehicle’s nose will pull either to the left or right. Over time this pulling can affect other parts of your automobile.
There could be other causes for the pulling in the front of your automobile when you brake, such as unbalanced tire pressure. But the most important aspect is finding the root cause and correcting the issue to prevent a cascading effect.
A High Pitched Squeak or Squeal
If you hear an alarming consistent squeak or squeal while driving your vehicle, your brakes may be working correctly to inform you it is time for a replacement. Why would something that sounds so bad be considered proper function?
Your brake pads are equipped with a small metal tab that becomes exposed as the pads wear down, causing the tab to make contact with the rotor, which produces a squeak or squeal. This annoying sound indicates it is time for new brake pads.
Other issues can cause this high-pitched noise, so it is always best to have it checked and repaired.
Grinding or Growling
If you hear the high-pitched squeaking indicator that signals your brake pads need replacing but continue to drive, you will start to notice the sound of metal on metal which becomes a more severe and expensive repair. Metal rubbing against metal will produce a grinding or growling sound. When this happens, you risk damage to several parts of the braking system.
A Clicking Noise
Loose, worn, and rusted braking system components can cause a clicking noise. Some of the parts that may be worn and need replacing are anti-rattle springs that have rusted, worn calipers, worn brake shims and brake pads, and compromised front-end parts.
The repair cost will depend on what is causing the clicking noise. If you notice the sound immediately after a brake pad replacement, it is possible that the brake pads were installed improperly.
Pedal vibrations may indicate your tires need alignment. But it can also point to a defect in the rotors of the braking system.
Brake glazing, caused by frequent overheating of the brakes for long periods, can produce pedal vibrations. Brake glazing is more common in areas with windy, hilly, or mountainous roads that require frequent brake use.
Faulty Brakes Can Lead to Accidents
Careful maintenance of your braking system keeps your automobile roadworthy. It also contributes to the safety of passengers and other drivers. Injuries from an accident related to improperly maintained braking systems can be devastating. If you have been in this unfortunate circumstance, speak with the trusted legal team at Mingo & Yankala, S.C. to discuss compensation for the injuries you sustained in your accident.