Prepare to Stop: Readying Your Brakes for Back-To-School Season

The back-to-school season is one of the best times to take your vehicle in for a tune-up and to make sure that everything, especially the brakes, is in proper working condition.

Servicing your brakes should be one of your top priorities after summer, especially if you enjoyed getting out and taking road trips. As children start returning to school, it’s important that you are always aware and always prepared to stop. No matter how aware you are, however, it can be impossible to stop in time and to stop safely if your brakes are not in good condition.

Common Signs of Brake Problems

Like most vehicle parts, brake parts are susceptible to damage and everyday wear and tear, and will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. Thankfully, the signs that your brakes need attention are usually obvious. Be on the lookout for signs such as:

– Metallic screeching

If you push down on your brake pedal and you hear a high-pitched metallic squeal, then your brake pads have likely become worn and need to be replaced. The sound is fairly audible but easy to miss over the sound of the radio or even air conditioning. If you think you may have heard a faint screeching, then turn down your air conditioning and your radio next time you apply the brakes.

– Metallic grinding

A metallic grinding or growling noise is a strong indicator that your brake pads have worn down completely and are likely causing damage to your vehicle’s rotors. The sound is caused by two metal brake parts known as a disc and a caliper rubbing together and creating scratches and grooves in the rotors when brake pressure is applied.

– Brake pedal or steering wheel vibration

Another common symptom of warped and grooved rotors is a vibrating steering wheel or a pulsating brake pedal. This is because, as an uneven rotor spins, its bumps and grooves will hit the brake pad. While misshapen rotors are often caused by worn brake pads, they can also develop due to rust or simply due to time.

– Reduced brake pedal responsiveness

If you find that your brake pedal has to sink further towards the floor in order to produce the desired braking force, then you are likely dealing with a brake fluid leak. A brake fluid leak needs to be addressed right away, as it can severely limit your ability to stop your vehicle in time. Another common sign of a brake fluid leak is if a small puddle forms under your vehicle when it is parked.

– An illuminated brake light

If you’re experiencing any of the problems described above, then the red or yellow brake warning light on your dashboard will likely be illuminated as well. Even if you don’t notice any screeching, grinding, vibrations, or issues with brake pedal responsiveness, you should still heed the warning and have your brakes inspected.

Don’t Wait – Get Your Brakes Inspected Today

Brakes are easily the most important safety feature of any vehicle. When you don’t address brake issues on your vehicle, you risk the safety of yourself, of your passengers, and of everyone around you. If you notice any signs of brake trouble or if it’s just been a while since your brakes have been serviced, then you should definitely have your vehicle checked out by a professional.

Not only will having your brakes regularly serviced help you avoid collisions, but it will also save you money on more expensive repairs in the long run. Make a brake check part of your yearly back-to-school routine.