Your brakes are the most important part of your vehicle, as they are what allow you to avoid accidents and properly maintain a safe speed on the road. Improperly functioning brakes are thus a severe safety hazard, and you should never drive your vehicle on brakes that you are not fully confident in. Understanding the warning signs associated with brakes that are no longer working properly can help you determine when you should head to a mechanic to have your brakes professionally inspected and replaced.
Pulling to the Side
One of the most common, and also one of the easiest to notice, signs that your brakes are overdue for a replacement is if you notice that your vehicle will pull to one side of the road when you apply the brakes. Most commonly, this is because one brake pad has worn down significantly more than the other, which means that your brakes will likely need to be replaced and the alignment of your vehicle checked.
Another easy-to-notice sign that your brakes are overdue to be replaced is if you notice that there is a strong vibrating sensation coming up through the brake pedal or through the steering wheel when the brakes are applied. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including issues with your suspension system and not your brakes, but most commonly will point to some sort of damage to your brake rotors. However, a professional inspection will be necessary to identify the problem and determine the best course of action. While vibrations may seem like a minor problem, they can severely reduce the amount of control that you have over your vehicle, and can also represent a great deal of stress and friction on your brakes which can cause further damage, and thus should be treated immediately as a serious issue.
Finally, one last common sign that your brakes are in need of professional service is if you notice that there is a loud, high-pitched noise coming from your brakes while they are applied. This can point to a few different issues: most commonly, your brake pad has worn down, exposing a metal wear strip that will rub against the caliper to inform you that you need to have new brake pads installed. Other times, misalignment or damage has caused a metal part of your tire to come into contact with a metal component of your brake, which can cause serious stress and damage over time.
Talk to a brake installation professional for more information.