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How to Know It’s Time to Replace Your Brake Pads

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Tire Skidmarks

While it’s generally not the part of the car that looks attractive or catches your eye, brakes are incredibly important to make sure your car keeps functioning properly, which is why you need to pay attention to the signs that point at saying it’s time to replace your brake pads or have them checked. Not sure what they are? No worries! That’s why Leale’s is here to clue you in so you’re well-equipped to notice the warning signs.

Signs to Look Out For

  • The Brake Pedal is Pulsating . If you press down on the pedal and it starts to pulsate, there’s a good chance you need new brake pads. Pulsating is when the brakes vibrate or “grab” and usually happens when the brake pads are worn out or warped because of the heat. You can have them re-machined or replaced.

  • The Brakes Screech. If you hear a high-pitched sound when the brakes are depressed, that’s a sign to replace the brake pads. It’s caused by a metal shim, and the pitch can vary. However, you’ll usually hear it if your windows are closed. That said, if this only happens one time, you may not need a replacement, since if it was exposed to water, the moisture could cause that. If this happens constantly, it’s vital to go to an auto shop.

  • The Brakes Make Grinding or Clicking Sounds. If there’s a clicking or rattling sound when you apply brakes, that’s a sign to get them replaced. A grinding sound means that they’re often beyond replacement, because it’s caused by the metal disc and caliper grinding together since the brake pad is completely worn down. If possible, repair or replace them before it gets to this state, because you’ll probably have to replace the rotors as well.

  • The Car is Pulling. If it feels like your car wants to make turns when you drive or brake, the braking system may be compromised. It could be a stuck caliper, which causes friction on one of the wheels. It could also be a collapsed brake hose or uneven brake pads, which would put varying amount of pressures on different wheels. However, it doesn’t always have to be related to the brakes: it could mean your tires are not evenly inflated or worn down, or something could be wrong with your suspension system. No matter what, take it to a mechanic’s shop for a once-over.

  • The Brake Pads are Thin. This isn’t something you can feel, but something to see. If you take a look at the brake pads through the car wheel spokes, you can see if a replacement is needed. The outside brake pad is the material against the metal rotor, so if you see less than 1/4 inch, head to a repair shop.

Where Do I Go?

If you’re looking for a reliable, experienced mechanic in the San Jose, CA area, Leale’s Transmission & Auto Service is your to-go shop. With more than 5 decades of experience, we can diagnose and repair car, truck, bus, or other vehicle, all for a fair price. Call us at (408) 286-5353 today!