You are driving along and hear this awful high pitch squeal when you are trying to stop at the traffic light. You start to look around to see if it is someone else’s car or yours. Then you realize, it is your car. That noise is usually an indication of one thing. It usually means that your brake pads have started to break down. The real question is how long do you have until the brakes have to be replaced.
Checking the life left on a set of brakes isn’t much harder or more entailed than changing a tire. The thought of brakes intimidates most people, but it doesn’t have to. The steps are simple:
Start by taking off the tire. Loosen the lug nuts on the tire. Use the car’s jack to lift the car slightly off the ground. Then remove the nuts off the tire and remove the tire.
Find the brake pads. This can differ from the type of brakes you are checking, whether the brakes are disks or drums. Check the owner’s manual to see if the brakes you are checking are disks or drums, if you are not sure. Checking brake drums require taking off an extra piece before locating the brake pads.
Once you have gotten to the brake pads, you want to check to see how much of the brake pad is left. You want to make sure there is at least 1/8 of an inch in brake padding. If there is less than that, the brake pads will need to be replaced soon.
While the is off and you are checking the brake pads, you should check the rotor. Rotors do not always need to be replaced when the brakes are replaced. It often depends on the shape of the rotors. The way to check the rotors is to run your finger over the surface. If you feel ridged or grooves, the rotors need to be replaced. A good rotor should be smooth.
These do not always need to be changed at the time the brakes are. It depends on the condition. Rub your finger on the surface of the rotor. It should be smooth. If there are grooves or if it concaved, you will need to replace them as well. If the rotors are bad and you replace the brakes without changing the rotors, the brakes will break down much faster than they should.
If there is any doubt that your brakes should be replaced, have them replaced or replace the brakes yourself, go the dealership to get your brakes replaced.