There are a number of tell-tale signs to look out for when using your brakes. They include a grinding noise when you apply the brakes or a pull to the left or right. The grinding normally means that brake pads are excessively worn and need to be replaced along with the damaged brake discs. A pull to the left or right is normally indicative of a sticking or seized mechanical or hydraulic component.
You may also feel a continuous “pulsating” from the pedal or a “spongy” feeling. This spongy feeling indicates that there is air in the hydraulic system due to a brake fluid leak. The “pulsating” feel is normally associated with a distorted brake disc or drum.
More obviously, you may notice an illuminated brake warning light on the instrument panel or that your handbrake is pulling up higher than it normally does – in modern cars, more than 6 to 8 clicks.
For safety’s sake, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected as quickly as possible when you notice any of the above symptoms.
How do brakes wear differently?
Different driving patterns have a dramatic effect on how often your brakes need servicing. For example, a set of brake pads could last up to 60,000 miles or more on a car driven mostly on the motorway, may last only 25,000 or 30,000 miles or less on the same vehicle driven in busy city traffic.
Front brakes normally wear out before rear brakes because they handle a higher percentage of the braking load, especially on front-wheel drive cars.
It is recommended that brake pads should be replaced if the pad friction material has worn down to a thickness of 3 millimeters. Brake disc thickness should be measured and replaced if they measure at or below the manufacturer’s safe minimum thickness specification.
Quinn Fix also recommends that brake discs or drums are replaced in axle sets. Replacing one brake disc or drum could cause an imbalanced braking performance that could lead to further premature wear.
When new parts are fitted, it’s vital to drive gently and carefully until they ‘bed in’, which takes approximately 200 miles. Excessive braking action on new parts will potentially damage them and lead to a loss of braking efficiency and performance.