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Do My Brakes Need To Be Replaced? Beginner’s Guide To Brake Service

“How do I know when my brakes need to be replaced?” Today’s post answers this common beginner question and points readers to the best brake service in Canada.

Read on to learn 5 signs it’s time to repair or replace your brakes, or use the Find a TIRECRAFT tool to book an appointment straight away.

5 Signs It’s Time Repair Or Replace Your Brakes

1. Consistent screeching and squealing when you pump the brakes. Generally, the first signs of brake trouble are not seen, but heard. If you notice a squealing, screeching, or whining noise when the brakes are engaged, take it seriously. These sounds are usually caused by the small, metallic shim indicator that’s embedded in modern brake pads to give drivers advanced warning of any excessive wear. If you hear these sounds consistently, it’s almost certainly time for a brake service—at the very least, it’s definitely time for a brake inspection.

But consistently is the key word; if the sound disappears after the first few times you pump the brakes, it’s probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes wet and damp conditions, such as major thaws or heavy rainstorms, can cause a thin layer of rust to form on the brake pads. This built-up layer of rust can cause screeching sounds similar to those that indicate worn brake pads, but it almost always goes away after a few minutes on the road.

2 . ¼” or less of visible brake pad. Instead of waiting to hear your brake shims squealing, get proactive with regular visual inspections of the brake pad. It doesn’t take any training; just look through the tire spokes and you’ll be able to see the brake pad compressed against the brake rotor, clear as day. If the pad looks less than ¼” thick—that’s about 3 millimeters—it’s probably a good idea to get your brake inspected sooner rather than later.

3. Dashboard indicator lights. Many modern vehicles have indicator lights in the dashboard that signal when it’s time to replace the brake pads. If you’re unsure, check the owner’s manual to see whether your vehicle comes equipped with a “low-pad warning system.” If your vehicle does have this feature, remember to ask your technician to replace the light sensors (note: this is included as part of every TIRECRAFT brake service).

4. Metallic grinding and growling. If you hear metal grinding on metal, it’s possible that your brake discs and calipers are making contact. If this is the case, contact your local TIRECRAFT straight away, as your braking system is now at serious risk.

5. It’s been 20,000km or 12 months since your last brake service. Brake pads can last a long time before they fail, but it’s still important to schedule regular check-ups. At TIRECRAFT, we recommend brake inspections every 20,000km or 12 months of driving—whatever comes first. However, this is only a general recommendation, and if you’ve got a particularly rigorous commute or a bit of lead foot, more frequent maintenance may be required.

Book A Brake Service At Your Local TIRECRAFT

TIRECRAFT is a one-stop shop for all your automotive repair and maintenance needs. Use the Find a TIRECRAFT tool to find a reputable brake repair shop near you, or visit the TIRECRAFT website to learn more about what’s included in our brake service packages.

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