Some lights that appear on our dashboard are simple service reminders, while others are cries for help from your car! If a service brake system light illuminates, don’t ignore it. Your vehicle’s brakes are its most important safety feature, designed to keep you and everyone else on the road safe. There is no exact time or mileage when you should get your brakes checked as these parts are designed to gradually wear out over time.
You should be aware of the following warning signs:
Dashboard brake warning light comes on.
Newer vehicles have advanced alerts for the brakes, if your vehicle has a brake pad indicator light, this could illuminate when the pad material is getting too thin.
The steering wheel vibrates when braking.
If your steering wheel or brake pedal vibrates when braking at a higher speed, this is a sign you should get your brakes checked.
Grinding or squeaking of brakes.
This is one of the most noticeable signs, it could mean your brake pads or discs need replacing. Some brake pads have built in metal wear indicators. These are designed to make a loud noise so that you know it is time to replace your vehicles brake pads. If you ignore this noise you could be opening yourself up to more damage.
Increased stopping distance.
In most cases this can just be a matter of changing the brake pads but there is a chance that the brake fluid is running low. To make sure you don’t lose braking abilities you should get this checked as soon as possible.
The brake pedal feeling soft.
If you notice that the pedal is a long way down before the car begins to brake, this could be a sign that the brakes are leaking. This needs to be checked immediately.
The car pulls when braking in one direction in the direction of travel.
If you find your vehicle pulling to one side when braking this could be a sign that the brakes are more worn on one side than the other.
Even with these indictors, it is a good idea to get your vehicle checked occasionally. As where and how you drive makes a big difference in the wear of the brakes. Ideally, most vehicles should have their brakes checked at least every six months.