Does this sound familiar? You are driving along and you have to stop at the traffic light. You press the gas pedal and there is a high pitch squeal. You might look around to see if it was someone else’s car. You have to stop at the next light. There is that sound again. Now you know it is your car making the high pitch squeal every time you stop. This noise usually means that the brake pads are starting to break down.
When you are wondering if you need new brakes, it isn’t hard to check. It is actually as simple as taking the tire off the car. If you know how to change a tire, you can easily check the life left on your brakes.
For most people the thought of doing anything with brakes is intimidating. Check the brakes doesn’t have to be.
Start by taking the tire off. Start by loosening the lug nuts on the tire. Use the car’s jack to slightly lift the car off the ground. The remove the lug nuts and take the tire off the car.
Look for the brake pads. Depending on the types of you are checking for, whether they are disks or drums, will depend on what it looks like. If you are not sure what kind of brakes you have check the owner’s manual. If you have brake drums, there is an additional step. Checking brake drums require taking off an extra piece before locating the brake pads.
After you have gotten to the brake pads, you can see how much brake pad is left. When checking the brake pads, you want there to be at least 1/8 inch of a brake pad. If there is less than that, you will need to have the brake pads changed soon.
While checking the brake pads, you should also check the rotors. Rotors do not need to be replaced as often as brakes. The way to check the rotors is to run your finger over the rotor. Rotors should be smooth to the touch. If you feel grooves or ridges on the rotors, it means that the rotors need to be replaced.
If the rotors need to be replaced and it is not done when you get the brakes changed, the new brakes will break down faster than they should.
If you do not know if the brakes need to be replaced, or you know they need to be replaced and are ready to have them replaced, make an appointment with the dealership to have a mechanic do the job correctly.