Categories
Toyota of Abilene Maintenance Tips

Five Early Warning Signs You Need New Brakes

It’s a new year, which unfortunately means your car is officially one model year older. That also means your brakes have amassed another year of wear and tear.

Gaging the the state of your brakes can be tricky, but by staying vigilant for the subtle signals they send you, you can get ahead of any costly estimates your vehicle stands to inherit this year. Recognizing these signs and moving quickly to address them can also greatly extend your vehicle’s lifespan. 

Courtesy of the service technicians at Lithia Toyota of Abilene, here are five warning signs that suggest it’s time to replace your brake pads or rotors.

High-Pitched Screeching 

Often, you hear brake problems before you see or feel them. That’s thanks to the high-pitched screeching sound that emits from your brake pads when they’re wearing thin. Interestingly, the screeching isn’t a direct result of wearing brakes; manufacturers intentionally insert a piece of metal into the brake pads in order to alert you when a replacement is imminent.

If the grating sounds continue despite new brake pads, there’s a chance that your rotors may be glazed. This occurs when metal heats up and burns due to excessive braking. Check your rotors for blue marks for a dark ring; either could indicate that the rotors also need replacement. 

If the squealing is replaced by a grinding, metallic noise, that means your brake pads have completely worn down past the point where replacing them is possible. Take it to us for brake service immediately if this sound emerges, as it could lead to larger safety issues. 

The Eye Test 

Sometimes it’s easier not to overthink things. If your brake pads look like they have a problem, they likely do. You can find them wedged between the wheels’ spokes, pressed up against the rotors. Measure the pads, and if you find they’re less than a quarter of an inch thick, it may be time to schedule a service appointment with us.

Performance Anomalies 

When your brakes stop responding as quickly as they should, it may be a sign of a leak in your braking system. If your brakes are sending out vibrations (the kind that causes your steering wheel to quake, not the Beach Boys kind), either the brake pads or rotors are in need of replacement.

Your brakes are always sending messages like these to alert you to their condition. The more in tune you are with your vehicle, the better you’ll become at assessing when and why your vehicle is behaving abnormally. 

Extreme Sensitivity 

Perhaps you started your Camry today only to find your brakes acting unusually sensitive, jerking you to a halt at the slightest tap of the brake pad. This could be due to either the rotors wearing down unevenly or the brake fluid needing replacement. 

Alternately, you might have a problem when your brakes prove too insensitive and only engage when you apply excessive pressure. This could be a symptom of low brake fluid, thin brake pads, or even a sign that something is amiss with your car’s hydraulic system.

Puddle of Doom 

The last thing you want to see on a bright, sunny day is a puddle formed beneath your idle car. Unless it’s residue from an overnight shower, it’s most likely your brake fluid dripping out of your car due to a leak. You should be able to tell the difference between regular motor oil and brake fluid, which is notably thinner. 

Give Me a Brake

Life may be full of stops and starts… but you should have as much autonomy over them as possible. Don’t leave your fate to the whims of worn-out brake pads, glazed rotors, or a faulty hydraulic system. We’re here to assist you with all your brake needs, along with battery service, oil changes, and more.

Visit us at Lithia Toyota of Abilene today, where we never put the brakes on a good deal. With our extensive inventory of new and certified pre-owned vehicles at your disposal, your dream car is just a stop away.