General Question

Ponderer983's avatar

How do you know when you need new brakes?

Asked by Ponderer983 (6396 points ) May 31st, 2012

I don’t want to know after how many miles I SHOULD get them replaced. I want to know what is a physical sign that I need to get new ones.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you hear crickets when you press the brake pedal it is time to change them. Next time you get your oil changed ask them to inspect your brakes, they can tell you how much brake pad is left and if anything is broken.

Ponderer983's avatar

@WestRiverrat Honestly, I’ve never heard the proverbial “crickets” when I apply the brakes. When they had previously said I need to replace them, that wasn’t happening. Any other way? And as far as a brake check goes, it just depends on the place if they do that for free?

marinelife's avatar

Squealing when you brake. The brakes go further to the floor when you brake.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
bewailknot's avatar

My breaks have a tendency to squeal most of the time. My car has an indicator light for the breaks but I don’t 100% trust it. The place where I get my oil changed drops me off at work and picks me up again – all in my car. This has worked out great because the guy will tell me if he thinks something is getting a little soft or loser that it should feel. He has an amazing reputation for excellence and honesty, so I am very lucky. Unfortunately he doesn’t do breaks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Take the tires off and inspect the pads visually or crawl under the car and do it. Or have your garage put the car on a lift and check them.

josie's avatar

They grind or squeal or some other sound that makes you think two surfaces are rubbing that should not be.

wundayatta's avatar

In the bad old days, when I heard the brakes squealing, I know they were getting into bad shape. But nowadays, I take the car in for regular service and the dealer tells me when I need new brakes. This happens before they start squealing. Also, in my state, we have a required annual inspection, and if the regular service doesn’t catch brake problems, the inspection does.

Rarebear's avatar

The mechanic tells me.

woodcutter's avatar

The brake pads have a built in wear-out devise that makes contact with the rotor when applied. They are set up to do this with a good amount of pad left before the rivets start carving up the rotors so there is plenty of time to make plans to do something about it before real trouble happens. Unfortunately people understand this and use it as a great procrastination tool. Sort of letting the alarm clock go endlessly and ignoring it.

RocketGuy's avatar

The wear-out device that @woodcutter is talking about is a bent piece of metal. When it touches the brake disk, it chirps like what @WestRiverrat is talking about.

When you hear a metallic grinding noise, you will need a new brake disk.

woodcutter's avatar

Try to see if the shop can resurface the rotor to make it smooth again. Don’t get taken for a ride. They should probably do that as a matter of practice just so everything starts off fresh but if the problem is allowed to persist then maybe a completely new rotor will be in order and that is not a cheap alternative. A person would almost have to be legally deaf in order to be able to ignore that warning sound for long, or just not care at all.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Ponderer983 I don’t know if your mechanic will do the inspection for free or not, you will have to ask him or her. I know mine will do an inspection as a matter of course when they do the regular maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotation.

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