When you hear squealing and/or grinding, or if you are feeling vibrations when you press your brake pedal then that probably means it is time to seek out a mechanic to check what’s going on with your brakes!
The majority of brake pads are equipped with a wear indicator which is essentially just a metal tab that sticks out! Whenever the brake pads wear down to that level, the metal tab will cause a squealing sound which will alert you to the fact that the pads are wearing low. This metal on metal sound serves as a warnign that your brakepads must be replaced. If you delay too long after hearing this noise you risk actually beginning to wear away the brake material which is not only dangerous, but which will result in more expensive repairs ince you may need to repalce the brake rotor and calipers instead of just the brake pads.
When you hear these noises, head to your local reapir shop and ask for the brakes to be inspected. Usually the fee for an inspection is fairly nominal, and most mechanics will do it for free if you are having other work done on the vehicle. A proper brake inspection involves removing all of the wheels and looking at the amount of material remaining on the brake pad. It also involves measuring how thick the brake rotors are, checking the condition of the brake calipers, checking the integrity of all cables and inspecting the brake fluid.
As part of your routine maintenance, the brake fluid shoulf be changed around every 36,000 miles, or 3 years. For some European or Asian models this may be closer to 5 years or 50,000 miles, just check with your mechanic regarding your particulr vehicle.
We’ve already discussed alignment basics. Next month we’ll discuss timing belt basics so don’t forget to check back soon.