If your driving with a high speed say like 90km/hr and, if you suddenly needed to stop, your vehicle could take approximately 91 meters to come to stop– and that’s only if you’ve kept one of the most critical safety systems in your car well maintained: your brakes.
Brakes may not be the sexiest part of a car, but they’re certainly one of the most crucial. Paying attention to the warning signs that indicate a need for service can mean the difference between life and death. which is why you should know about the signs.
Most cars use what are known as disc brakes. These function in much the same way as brakes on a ten-speed bicycle. A hydraulic system filled with brake fluid triggers a set of padded clamps known as calipers, causing them to squeeze together on a disc known as the rotor. The friction that occurs between the pads and rotor eventually stops the car.
Over time, as you can imagine, the pads will begin to wear thin, which means they’ll become less effective at slowing and stopping your car.
Fortunately, checking the thickness of your brake pads — those that squeeze down on the calipers — is a straightforward procedure. All you need to do is look between the spokes of your wheel to spot the shiny metal rotor inside. When you find it, look around the outer edge where you’ll see the metal caliper. Between the caliper and rotor, you’ll see the pad. You’ll have to estimate, but generally, your pads should be at least one-quarter of an inch thick. If they’re any thinner than that, it’s a good idea to get them changed.
2. Strange Sounds
That’s because one of the warning signs that your brakes need servicing can come from a small indicator in your braking system that emits a high-pitched squeal when your pads need replacing. n addition to the squeal from the sensor, you’ll also want to listen for a harsh grinding sound. This means that you’ve gone completely through your brake pads and now, when you apply the brakes, the metal of the calipers is grinding against the metal of your rotors.
Generally, a vibrating brake pedal indicates warped rotors. Their uneven surfaces will thrum against the brake pads, and you’ll feel the feedback through the brake pedal.
Rotors usually only warp when they’re under extreme stress for an extended period. The friction-generated heat caused by driving down steep mountainsides or by stopping frequently while towing something heavy, for example, can cause the metal of the rotors to change shape.
If you haven’t stressed your brakes recently, but you still feel vibration in the pedal, you may have misaligned wheels. In either case, it’s best to see a mechanic for diagnosis.