A good customer stopped in the other day and her daughter asked me how do you know when the brakes on a car need to be fixed?
The answer is pretty simple. Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories: making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal. Let’s start with the noise.
Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced. The noise is a chirp or soft squeal. This noise gives auto owners enough vital warning to get their brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to allow you to stop safely.
People who ignore the chirp generally find that the sound changes to a grinding noise. That is more serious. It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes. Obviously, this dangerous! Metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren’t stopping very well. It also means that your rotor is being damaged. It may need to be resurfaced or even replaced.
Pedal pulsation is another noticeable issue. When your rotor is not in perfect alignment, it pushes against the brake pads unevenly as you apply the brakes. There could be a number of reasons for this. The rotor and wheel hub may not be mating well, causing the rotor to be spinning out of vertical alignment. This harmful misalignment can be caused by either the rotor or the hub, or a combination of the two. If this problem persists, the rotor may even start to wear unevenly to the point that its thickness varies, causing an even more noticeable pulsation. This uneven mating of the brake pad and the rotor when braking means less contact and it will reduce braking power.
The team at J’s Auto Service can determine the cause of the harmful misalignment and remedy the problem.
Either unusual brake noise or pedal pulsation are signs that there are brake problems. Car owners should have a tech at J’s Auto Service examine their brakes thoroughly and recommend any key steps necessary to correct the problem.
A regular brake inspection is on every domestic or imported vehicle’s recommended list. Ask your J’s Auto Service technician when your brakes were checked and if it’s time for a thorough brake inspection.
(Todays vehicles have smaller brake system components that operate under tighter tolerances and are required to perform at a much higher quality. High speed limits, shorter stopping distances, hotter braking temperatures are just a few challenges brake systems need to contend with.)