America records 6 million accidents each year, out of these 2 million accident victims end up with permanent disabilities.
While road accidents at times happen due to unavoidable circumstances, some accidents are genuinely avoidable.
For the latter, there are many things each person can do to reduce their chances of causing or being in an accident.
One of them is ensuring the car you are driving is roadworthy and that it is safe enough for yourself, as well as other road users.
One vital part of your car is the brakes; they are the forefront of your car’s defense system.
Therefore, making sure that your brake pads are in good condition cannot only save you a lot of trouble but also, it can save your life.
Does your car need new brake pads? Here are five signs that tell you it does.
1. You Feel Vibrations, Wobbles or Scrapes When Braking
Vibration in the steering wheel is indicative of an uneven rotor.
The rotor is a large disc located inside the wheels. When the rotor is worn down unevenly, brake pads hit the rotor each time you hit the brakes. This can severely affect your braking power.
To prevent this, you want your rotors to be entirely even and smoothened out.
As you use your car, normal wear and tear as well as rust eats at the rotor’s surface.
If you follow a regular car servicing schedule, your mechanic periodically smoothens and evens the rotor out to maintain optimal function.
This has to be done with precision. Any differences in thickness will cause your steering wheel to rattle each time you brake.
If your car shakes when you brake, this could be a different problem, although it is still related to your rotors.
At times, an uneven rotor causes it to hit the brake pads as it spins. When the pad hits the bump in the rotor, you feel a vibration.
Another source of turbulent breaking is a malfunctioning brake caliper. The work of a caliper is to squeeze the brake pads against brake rotors. This action slows down your car.
If you address the caliper and the wobbling does not go away and continues to affect the braking system’s responsiveness, it’s time for new brake pads.
2. Leaking Brake Fluid
If you experience a soft brake pedal, the first thing to rule out is leaking fluid from the master cylinder.
It is the master cylinder that powers your breaks. To do this, it has a storage, much like the wiper fluid, containing brake fluid.
Upon applying the brakes, brake fluid runs through a piping creating hydraulic pressure.
If you have leaking brake fluid, the car lacks enough power to do this.
Aside from a soft break, if you notice your brake pedals are sinking to the floor when you apply them. This is a sign that you need to have your car checked immediately.
It is worth noting that a common cause of leaking brake fluid is worn out brake pads. If this is identified as the cause, then the only recourse is to replace them.
3. Car Pulling to One Side and High Pitches Screeching
This is another standard indicator that you need new brake pads.
When brake linings start to wear unevenly, you might feel like your car is being pulled in one direction when braking.
Similarly, screeching when you brake is not good news either.
The screeching sound is usually audible enough to reach your ears even with the windows up.
However, if you have been driving in the rain of just washed your car, rust in the brake rotors may cause a squeal. This should, however, not last longer than a couple of stops.
Screeching is often an indicator of worn out brake pads. Have them checked immediately.
4. Worn Brake Pads Indicator Light
Some cars come with an internal warning system to alert you when you need new brake pads.
Look at your car’s manual to see if yours is one of these. If it is and the indicator light comes on, you are due for new brake pads.
Without this warning system, brake pads should last you anywhere between 30,000 and 35,000 miles. However, this is dependent on your driving style and the road you drive on.
For example, driving more in rural locations will wear your brake pads out faster. The same case goes for drivers who habitually stomp on their brakes.
However, when you reach this mile threshold, start planning for a brake pad purchase.
5. Brake Fade
This simply means your car is taking about longer to come to a stop than it typically should.
More often than not, it is characterized by applying the brakes over a vast distance without the car coming to a full stop.
While this is acceptable when driving down a winding road or a mountainside, it is atypical for driving on a normal urban road.
When you imagine the consequences of this lag in an emergency situation, it underlines the need to have your brakes replaced as soon as you identify the problem.
Similarly, if you are ever rammed by a motorist you suspect may have had failed breaks do not hesitate to contact a good auto accident attorney.
A brake fade can be caused by a leak in the braking system, either a brake fluid leak or an air leak in the brake hose.
Whenever you start experiencing serious lags in your car’s braking system, you are safer purchasing new brake pads.
It Is Better Not to Take Chances
Of course, safety is of paramount importance but it is not every little issue with your brakes that is cause for concern or a reason to make a replacement.
However, it is best to err on the side of caution, by having your mechanic inspect your car anytime you realize something is off. This goes for your brakes and other issues.
Do you suspect a brake pads issues? Book an appointment to see a qualified mechanic at your soonest convenience.