The Importance of listening and looking at your brakes
We are generally very concerned with how we make our cars ‘go’ – constantly thinking about getting from A to B, how quickly, how efficiently. The truth is that our cars’ ability to stop is the most important thing and should be actively maintained. We often overlook the sights and sounds that warn us about our brakes until it is too late – until we really need them.
Lights go red, cars stop, dogs run out and every time we press the pedal we know the car will stop. We don’t even have to think about it. However, in order to ensure this continues throughout the life of the car it is up to us to be aware of contributing factors, signs and solutions of worn brake pads. A heavy foot and a heavy load will increase the wear and tear on the brake pads over time.
While you might not be able to replace your brake pads yourself you can make yourself aware of the most obvious indicators:
Look out for…
On most modern cars and vans you can see the brake pads working by looking at the front wheels. Stand on the outside of the front tyre while someone inside the car presses on the brake pedal. You will be able to see the brake pads working by looking through the wheel rims. If you cannot see the brake pads moving up and down this is a good indicator that they are worn out. As a guide, if the pads look thinner than 1/8 inch they need to be replaced as soon as possible.
In addition to what you can see you should also look out for changes in how the car/van feels. If you notice a loss of grip when breaking or the car pulling to the left or right it could be an indicator that the brake pads need to be professionally checked.
Listen out for…
Most of us will have heard the screeching of a car when it tries to brake suddenly – be it our own or someone else’s. If pressing on your brakes causes a screeching or scratching sound you need to have the brake pads replaced. As a rule of thumb a screeching is worn brake pads and a scratching is damage to the rotors. The screeching noise is usually followed by the scratching if the brake pads have been left untreated. These sounds are very good indicators that you need to have the brakes and possibly the rotors checked and shouldn’t be ignored.
If you’re unsure of the sights and sounds of worn brakes a good guideline is to have them checked every 25,000 kilometres. This is also a good time to have your brake fluid replaced. The dangers of ignored brake pads can be serious but if you follow the above guidelines you should have no fears about putting your foot down in future.
If you’re unsure of anything why not call into your local Atlas branch today and speak to one of our experts! or call us on 1890 425 262