Want to Become an Auto Mechanic? 4 Warning Signs a Car’s Brakes Must Be Replaced

The brakes are one of the most important safety features in a car, and maintaining them in working condition should be a top priority for all vehicle owners. The lifespan of brake parts depends on the vehicle and its driving conditions. Generally, however, they need to be serviced regularly, if not replaced, in order to ensure the driver’s safety and to avoid costly damages. 

Fortunately, vehicles provide a number of warning signs that the brakes are due for a check-up. Let’s take a look at some common indicators that the brakes need replacing.

1. Screeching and Grinding Sounds

One of the most common indicators of worn-out brake pads is squealing or screeching sounds when the brakes are applied. Many vehicles come with wear indicators consisting of a small metal attachment designed to produce these sounds. The brakes may also exhibit a screeching sound after being exposed to wet, rainy conditions. If the sound disappears after using the brakes a few times, the culprit is likely just moisture on the brake pads. If the sound occurs regularly while braking, there’s a good chance that your brakes need replacing. A professional auto mechanic will be able to inspect the brake pads for wear and tear. It’s worth running a check earlier rather than later. A grinding noise while braking is likely an indication that the brakes have begun to damage the rotors, which could result in costly repairs if left unattended. 

Screeching and grinding noises may indicate brake wear

2. Longer Stopping Times

An obvious sign that the brakes need to be checked is a loss of function. If a vehicle is taking longer than normal to come to a complete stop, it may be a sign that the brake pads are worn down. This is likely the case if it has been a while since the pads were changed and the rotors resurfaced. Otherwise, the brake fluid levels may be low, often due to a leak. Brake fluid creates hydraulic pressure to allow the brakes to function. Over time, brake fluid loses the ability to create that pressure, which results in longer stopping times.

If you’re training to become an auto mechanic, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the operation and servicing of hydraulic brake systems in order to ensure the safety function of a vehicle. 

3. Look Out for Vibrations as a Professional Auto Mechanic

Vibration during braking may be another sign of brake wear, often due to an uneven rotor. The brake rotors are large discs inside of the wheels. When the brake pedal is applied, the brake pads close in on the rotors to slow the vehicle. The rotors should be smooth with the same thickness all around. Over time, however, the rotor surface can become uneven, causing the vehicle to vibrate or the wheel to shake as the brake pad hits a bump in the surface. In a professional brake servicing, a mechanic can smooth and even out the rotor surface to correct these flaws. 

A professional auto mechanic can check the rotor surface for uneven wear

4. Brake Warning Lights Turn On

Nowadays, most vehicles come equipped with brake warning lights that appear on the dashboard. The indicator light will turn on when it’s time to replace the brake pads. The brake light also comes on when the parking brake is engaged, so be sure that the brake is fully released before considering other causes. 

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