Car Brakes: When Is It Time To Change Them?

Autos & TrucksMaintenance

  • Author Jennifer Warriner
  • Published August 11, 2021
  • Word count 581

Those who have a daily commute through heavy traffic know that a vehicle’s braking system can bring your thousands of pounds of metal to a stop hundreds of times before you have gotten to work. Your vehicles brakes will eventually wear out, but they do slowly, meaning you may not notice they need attention until it is too late.

Neglecting your cars brake braking system can lead to more expensive repair costs or worse, no brakes at all. Fortunately there are some signs to watch out for that can hep you keep up on your cars maintenance, helping to save you money and not rear ending the guy in front of you on the way to work.

The most noticeable indicator your brake system needs attention is a high pitched squeal you when stop. Brake pad manufacturers include a wear indicator on the pad. This is to let you know when they are worn down to the point of replacement. The indicator touches the brake rotor and sounds almost like fingernails on a chalkboard. You will usually have about a month before you MUST replace your brakes, so it gives you a little time to put some funds back for repair.

Sometimes this indicator however can rust or fall off, and many aftermarket or cheap pads won’t come with one at all. For those more observant there are other signs you need to replace your brake pads. If you notice it takes longer to stop than your used to in your car, or your brake pedal travels father than it did a few months ago… it may be a good idea to get them checked out. Regular brake pad checks are a good idea and don’t require much more than removing a wheel and knowing what to look for.

Brake rotors are a little more complex, these can usually last through 2-3 sets of brake pads before needing replaced. If you notice a wobble in your steering wheel when you go to stop, then you most like have warped rotors. Many mechanics or shops may offer to turn them for you, however many newer vehicles are equipped with thinner, lighter rotors to help on fuel economy and overall costs. Therefore, Kraken Automotive usually recommends to replace them with a good quality replacement along with your brake pads.

Although you can never go wrong with OEM replacement brake pads and rotors, a variety of aftermarket options are available for your specific driving needs. If you find yourself replacing them often, slotted or heat higher quality Z-Clad coated rotors may be a better choice. While they are more expensive initially, the slots or coated rotors will help disperse heat better than the OEM stock rotors will, this will also help avoid warping them as well.

Another upgrade you can look into are ceramic brake pads/ These type of pads stop better and are one of the most common upgrades to a braking system. They perform better that OEM stock pads and product MUCH LESS brake dust and are usually quieter.

Although you can always opt to wait until your car is grinding to a halt, it will cost you unnecessary replacement of rotors. calipers and even a possible tow bill. Not to mention loosing your stopping ability and causing an accident. Keeping up routine brake maintenance, paying attention to the signs of brake wear and choosing the right equipment for your vehicle will let you slow down like you should.

I’m co-owner of Kraken Automotive and handle all our online marketing, in addition I also am a full-time freelancer and digital marketing manager for a local aluminum company in Leesburg Florida.

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