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Beginner’s Guide to Brake Maintenance: Replacement Costs and Warning Signs

Brake maintenance is a critical part of responsible car ownership. In today’s beginner’s guide, we identify the top-5 signs it’s time to book brake maintenance, and explain how to save money with TIRECRAFT.

Top-5 signs it’s time to book a brake maintenance service

  1. Squeaking or squealing sounds coming from brakes. Squeaky brakes aren’t always cause for concern (e.g. on rainy days), but consistent squealing in all weather conditions is a sign that brake maintenance may be required. Brake squealing can be caused by a number of serious conditions, including worn pads, glazed pads and rotors, broken anti-rattle clips, lack of pad insulation or insulation shims, and incorrect rotor surface cut.
  2. Dashboard indicator light is on. Some cars have a common warning light specifically for the brake system. If you notice the dashboard indicator light is illuminated, it could mean you’re low on brake fluid, your brake pads are wearing thin, or simply that your parking brake is engaged. If your parking brake isn’t on, but the indicator light is, you need to book a brake maintenance service.
  3. Grinding, metal-on-metal sound. If you hear a loud, grinding sound whenever you press on the brake pedal, there’s a very good chance that it’s caused by contact between the rotor disc and caliper. 9 times out of 10, this is due to over worn brake pads. Some manufacturers put small, metal ridges into the bottom of the brake pad to alert drivers when it’s time for a replacement. If you hear a deep, low, metal-on-metal grinding, book a brake maintenance service right away, and drive as little as possible before then.
  4. Vibrating brake pedal. If your vehicle’s rotor is in poor condition (e.g. scarred, warped, cracked, or rusted), it can cause the brakes to “grab” unevenly, which produces a pulsating or vibrating feel whenever the brakes are applied. Vibrating brakes are dangerous, as they can increase stopping time, putting you at greater risk of collisions, especially in poor driving conditions. With winter soon upon us, it’s important that you book a brake maintenance service to address this issue.
  5. Brake pads appear less than ¼ inch thick. If you look between the spokes on your wheels, you should be able to spot the brake pad up against the rotor of the tire. If it appears to be less than ¼” thick, that’s a good indication that you need a brake maintenance service.

Control brake maintenance costs at TIRECRAFT

Complete brake system repairs and replacement aren’t cheap:

  • For brake pad replacements, expect to pay between $35 and $150 for parts for all four wheels. Labour costs typically range between $80 and $120 per axle.
  • Rotors cost between $30 and $75 each. Labor to replace rotors and pads is typically $150 to $200 per axle.
  • Calipers can cost up to $130 each.
  • A complete brake repair typically ranges between $300 and $800.

But you can control costs by staying on top of your brake maintenance—and choosing a trustworthy provider willing to work with your budget.

At TIRECRAFT, our experts recommend booking a brake inspection every 20,000km or 12 months on the road. Leveraging our efficient service processes and insider vendor connections, we’re proud to pass brake maintenance savings onto the consumer, making it so that safety isn’t “cost prohibitive.” Since 1968, we’ve helped thousands of Canadians stay safe and save money, and we can help you too.

Book a brake maintenance service — Find a local TIRECRAFT

Use the Find a TIRECRAFT tool to book your brake maintenance at one of our 220+ shops across the country.