Most cars have an indicator light that comes on when the brakes need service. This makes it easy to tell when you need to take your car into the shop. But what if your car does not have a brake indicator light, either because it is older or because the light malfunctioned for some reason? In this case, you will need to be on the lookout for other signs that your brakes need service. Here are the key ones to watch out for.
When you press down on the brake pedal, you should feel firm resistance and immediate response. If the pedal instead feels squishy or spongy, then this means your brakes are significantly worn down and need service. The pads are not immediately grasping the wheel and stopping it from turning. Instead, the metal rim of the brakes is likely digging into the wheel, and this causes the car to take much longer to stop.
Vibrating in the Steering Wheel
If you have ABS brakes, which most modern cars do, then you make feel a vibration in the steering wheel when you press down on the brake pedal. This vibration is the brakes trying to engage, over-correcting because they are worn, and then engaging again. At first, you may only notice the vibration when you step down on the brake too hard. But eventually, the vibrations may persist even when you're driving along like normal.
Sometimes, your brakes might make a squealing noise when you press down on the brake pedal. This squeal is usually high-pitched. It doesn't tend to last long; it may stop as soon as you let off the brake pedal. This squealing noise is the metal of the brake rubbing against the metal wheel. It means your brakes are very worn and need to be repaired ASAP.
You should never notice a burning smell when you get out of your car. If you do, you should take the car to a shop ASAP. There are a number of problems that can cause this burning smell, and worn brakes are just one of them. It's best not to drive the car until you figure out what the smell is.
If your car does not have an indicator brake light, then you have to be on the lookout for other signs of impending brake failure. Make sure you have your brakes serviced promptly upon noticing these signs. For more information, contact a brake repair shop near you.