You want your car to go when you need it to, but perhaps more importantly, you want it to stop when you need it to. Your car’s brakes are key to keeping you and your family safe, and we at Brakes On Demand are here to make sure your brakes are always in working condition. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your brakes? Here are some guidelines to let you know when your car is ready for a brake replacement.
Pads and Rotors
There are a lot of parts that keep your brakes working. But the two most likely to need replacement are pads and rotors. Rotors are the metal discs you can see behind your car’s wheels. They spin along with the wheels, and the brake pads press on the rotors and create friction when you engage the brakes to stop your car. Both rotors and brake pads wear down over time and eventually need to be replaced.
Signs you need new rotors
When your brakes work perfectly, you don’t even notice that they’re there. You depress the brake pedal, your car glides to a stop, and you don’t give it a second thought. You accelerate through the intersection or put the car in park and get on with your day. But what does it mean when you depress the brake pedal and your brakes let out a squeak? That’s a sign that your rotors may be worn down and need to be replaced.
If you feel vibration through your steering wheel or brake pedal (other than your ABS, that’s a pulsing in your brakes that you want, especially in New England winter), that’s a sign that your rotors are warped. The metal has worn thin and the heat created by the friction of braking has un-flattened your rotors. Warped rotors definitely call for a brake replacement. Depending on how often you drive and your driving habits, you can expect your rotors to last 50,000 to 70,000 miles.
Signs you need new brake pads
When it comes to brake replacement, brake pads are the components that are more likely to need replacement. Brake pads are metallic or ceramic (check out our earlier blog post about which type of brake pads you need), and how long they will last can vary quite a bit depending on your driving habits. Brake pads can last anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 miles; most car owners replace theirs every 40,000 miles.
Some signs that indicate that you need to replace your brake pads are the same as when you need to replace your rotors: squeaking brakes or vibrations through your steering wheel or brake pedal. Brake pads have a couple of signs of their own, too. If your car takes longer than usual—if you have to “stand on the brake pedal”—to stop or if your car pulls to one side when you brake, brake pads don’t always wear down evenly.