How to know if you need new brakes

Need to service your brakes? Strange noises when you brake? Save yourself from danger! Learn the signs which tell you when you need brakes for your car. Get to know the ‘red flags’ that signal brake maintenance is required. Use this guide to help you.

  • Signs that indicate brake maintenance is needed:
  • Noises when braking
  • Vibrations when braking
  • Brake pedal feels spongy
  • Brake pedal is low
  • Brake warning light is on

Introduction Brakes

Brakes are a must for car safety and reliability. Over time, due to wear and tear, brakes need maintenance or replacement. It’s important to know the signs of brake trouble. This guide will explain what to look for when assessing your brakes.

We’ll talk about

  • brake pads,
  • rotors,
  • fluid,
  • calipers,
  • Check Engine Light warnings,
  • and more.

Plus, we’ll show you how to make your brakes last longer, so you can drive with peace of mind.

Signs You Need New Brakes

If your brakes are not working right, watch out! There are signs that show you should get them checked and replaced. Here are things to look out for:

  • Your car veers to one side when you brake?
  • Squealing or squeaking when brakes are applied? That means brakes or rotors need replacing.
  • Brakes wobble or vibrate? Warped rotors may be the cause.
  • Feels “soft” when you press the pedal? Worn brake hoses and seals may be the problem.
  • Decreasing braking performance after sudden stop? ABS components need attention.
  • Grinding or scratching sound when you try to stop.

Noticing these warning signs can help you stay safe and save money. Before service, get a pro’s opinion to see if new brakes are necessary.

Common Causes of Brake Failure

Brakes are an essential safety feature of any vehicle. Check them regularly to keep them in working order. Wear and tear is the most common cause of brake failure. Know the lifespan of each component and replace when needed. Poor maintenance or faulty parts can also be a factor. Have brakes professionally checked often to identify and replace faulty parts.

Excessive driving conditions can also lead to early brake failure. Keep an eye out for sudden stopping or shifts in brake response. It could mean trouble and needs immediate attention from a pro.

How to Test if You Need Brakes

When it’s time to buy new brakes, check your current ones. A few minutes of testing can tell you if they need replacing, servicing, or repair. Here’s how:

  1. Check your brake pads. Squeeze them. If they’re brittle, replace them. You can also see how much pad life you have left between each disc and pad – look through the wheel spokes.
  2. Take your car for a spin in a safe place – e.g. an empty parking lot. Press down on both pedals gently. Look out for vibration, grinding, grabbing sensation, or pulsation issues when slowing down. This could mean you need to visit an auto shop.
  3. Do an emergency stop from 25mph (or higher). Shift into lower gear to aid braking, and press firmly on both pedals until you come to a full stop – only if it’s safe. If there’s lazy response from the car, you may need new brake fluid, rotors, or other repairs.

When to Replace Your Brakes

When it comes to safety on the road, brakes should never be taken lightly. People don’t understand the importance of brakes until they’re stuck on the side of the road, struggling to make the vehicle stop. To dodge disaster, it’s key to know when to replace brakes.

Signs that new brakes are needed:

  • Squealing or grinding sound when braking.
  • Mushy brake pedal or slow reaction when braking.
  • Vibration in the steering wheel when braking.
  • Longer stopping distances.
  • Dashboard warning lights displaying brake trouble.

It’s a good idea to get brakes examined by a certified mechanic at least annually or every 10,000 miles. By abiding by these tips and tackling any issues first, you can make sure your vehicle has enough stopping power for safe driving.

Cost of Replacing Brakes

When replacing brakes, there are a few things to think about. Prices vary according to type of vehicle, and the quality of the brake components. Front disc brake pad replacement can range from $100-$300 (or more) per axle. Rear drum brake shoe replacements can cost up to $350 per axle. Installation may add labor costs of up to $120 or more. The total cost of parts and labor could be one or two hundred dollars.

Plus, you should consider durability. To get the best performance, replace both sets of pads/shoes at the same time. Check if manufacturers offer extended warranties on certain brakes. Research before buying!

Professional vs DIY Brake Replacement

Should you attempt your own brake replacement, or hire a professional? Ask yourself these questions to find out:

  • Do you feel confident using proper tooling and adjusting wheel bearings? If not, it’s best to get a mechanic.
  • Do you have access to a high-grade lift system? Without this it could be dangerous.
  • Are you familiar with modern brake systems and wheel cylinders? If not, contact a mechanic for better odds against accidental damage.
  • Does brake insurance cover repair costs? This could make it more cost effective to hire a technician.


To check the condition of your brakes, get a professional technician to inspect them. They’ll look at the pads and rotors, check the brake fluid, and see if any hoses or lines need replacing. That way, worn out parts can be fixed and you won’t be at risk of an accident.

Your brakes might wear out faster depending on how you use your car and where you drive. If you hear squeaking, feel vibrations, or sense any dragging while braking, it’s time to get them fixed or replaced. To keep your brakes in good shape, follow the recommended service schedule. That way, you can avoid expensive repairs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I tell if I need new brakes?

A: There are several signs that you may need new brakes. One sign is a squealing noise when you press on the brake pedal. Another sign is a grinding noise when you press on the brakes. Lastly, if your car pulls to one side when braking, this could indicate you need new brakes.

Q: How often should I get my brakes checked?

A: It is recommended that you get your brakes checked every 6 months or every 6,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is especially important if you drive in particularly wet or icy conditions.

Q: What type of brake pads should I get?

A: The type of brake pads you should get will depend on your driving habits and the type of vehicle you have. If you have a heavy-duty truck or SUV, you may need to get higher quality brake pads than a standard sedan. It is best to consult with a professional mechanic to determine the best brake pads for your vehicle.