Brakes are essential elements of our cars and they are important to ensure improved safety. There are things we should consider, such as replacing shoes and brake pads when they worn. The frequency of replacements depends on the level of usage, where we drive and our driving habits. A lot of start and stop trips in large cities can wear our brake pads down faster. Carrying loads and towing trailers could also make brake pads thinner. On average, brake pads last up to 40,000 miles, while some high quality pads are more durable. It should be easy to determine whether our pads are worn thin.
When the brakes are engaged and we hear a squealing noise, then we know that the pads are already worn thin. This is a good wear indicator that pads are in contact directly with the rotors, causing the sound. Noises in our car are a kind of warning that we need to check components and replace them. If we continue using the brake without servicing it, the squealing eventually turns into grinding. In this case, the brakes have ground past the pads and directly into the rotors themselves. When brakes are engaged, rotors become completely damaged. The originally cheap job of replacing braking pads becomes much more expensive because we also need to replace the rotors.
Other than pads, there are also other components of the brake system, such as callipers, drums and rotors. These parts should work well together to function effectively and properly. Over time, brake drums and rotors can be worn down. When the brake pedal feels pulsating, it is possible there’s problem with the rotor. In many cases, we don’t need to replace the rotors. Mechanics may resurface the rotor to create a fresh surface for the pads to grip properly. Resurfacing is an affordable option, instead of completely replacing rotors. However, resurfacing rotors can only be performed so many times and they need to be replaced eventually.
Identifying problems of the brake system is more than listening for unusual noises. We should also check other strange symptoms. When the car grabs or pulls to one side when we brake it, the it could be cause by frozen brake cables, frozen brake fluids/oil, grease leakage and maladjustments. We may also run out of brake fluid due to leakage due to bad master cylinder and faults in brake lines. Mechanics should be able to easily diagnose this problem. In some cases, brake pedal may vibrate and this could be caused by warped rotor/drum surfaces. Excessive warp and heat could cause rotor and drum surface to warp, resulting vibrations.
During braking, we may also hear clicking noises and this could be caused by parts of the brake pads that are worn out. These parts are supposed to stop the pad from moving, however, malfunctions cause the pad to rattle and loose. Excessive drag when we accelerate the car could be caused by frozen and rusty cables.