Common Signs You Need a Brake Job

car mechanic repairs breakes from vehicle in a workshop

As one of the most vital safety features of your vehicle, it’s essential to keep your brakes in good working order. Knowing the signs of low brake pads and other issues isn’t just important for your safety, either—it can also help prevent costly repairs.

Brake issues generally present in one of two ways: making noise or a pulsating brake pedal. Let’s start with the noise first.

Brake Wear Indicators

Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs on the brake rotor when the brake pads are worn down enough that they should be replaced. The wear indicator will let off a chirp or soft squeal as a warning that your brake pads are nearing the end of their life. Although you should get them replaced as soon as possible, you should still have enough of the brake pad material to stop safely.

If you ignore your brake pads for too long, the sound will change to a grinding noise. This is a more serious issue that should be addressed immediately, as the grinding indicates that the pads are worn away, and the metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor. At this point, your brakes aren’t likely to work well, and there may be damage to the rotor. It may need to be resurfaced; if the damage is extensive enough, you may need a rotor replacement.

Pedal Pulsation

Another noticeable problem that indicates a brake issue is pedal pulsation. This occurs when the rotor isn’t in perfect alignment with the brake pads, so it pushes uneasily against them when you apply the brakes. This can happen for several reasons. The rotor and wheel may not be contacting well, which can cause the rotor to spin out of vertical alignment. The misalignment could be caused by the rotor, the hub, or a combination of the two.

Additional Signs

In addition to these two signs, some other indications that it’s time to have your brakes looked at include:

  • Taking longer to come to a complete stop. This can mean your brake pads are completely worn down or that your brake fluid is low (which is often due to a leak).
  • The brake pad indicator light comes on. Most modern vehicles have two brake warning lights on the dashboard: The Antilock Braking System (ABS) light and the brake system warning light. The brake light also displays if you try to drive with the parking lot engaged. If you see the brake warning light and your parking brake isn’t engaged, this is a sign that your brake system should be inspected.
  • Your brake pads look thin. One way to check the condition of your brake pads is to do a visual inspection for wear. To do this, look between the spokes of your wheels, and you should be able to see the pad. If it looks less than a ¼ inch thick, it’s time to start thinking about having your brake pads replaced.

Experiencing Brake Issues? Visit EuroCar Service!

If you’re experiencing any of the above signs, let the expert technicians at EuroCar Service provide a diagnosis. Since worn brake pads can cause damage to nearby components, it’s best to have the issue addressed as soon as possible. Plus, timely repairs will keep your ride safe and sound. We see all European makes, including BMW, Audi, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, Smart Car, and Fiat! Contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online!