It’s easy to want to put off maintenance on your car, but your brakes are really some of the last things you should procrastinate on. They are one of the first safety features on your vehicle. If your brakes fail, you may not be able to stop accurately - if at all. If it reaches that point, it won’t only be a safety hazard, it will also be quite expensive to repair all the damage it can and will cause. Unfortunately, there is no exact schedule on when brakes should be changed, because it is dependent on many factors (city driving vs. country driving, someone who brakes harder than another person, and even driving distances – to name a few).
The first two things you should do to check your breaks is look and listen. When you begin to look, the first place is between the spokes on your wheels. You should be able to locate your breaks through them. In most cases, there should be ¼ of an inch of brake pad between the metal clamping it to the rotor and the actual rotor itself. If there is less than that, it is important to having a professional change the brake pads before they wear down any farther.
If you start to hear a screeching noise when you press on your brakes, that is the indicator warning you that you need to replace your brake pads. This noise should be loud enough to hear with your windows up, but not over a radio or air conditioner. If any louder, it could mean that the brakes are now worn down completely and causing damage to the rotors.
One last issue you may want to be aware of is a pulsating brake pedal when you begin to brake. This could mean that there is a warped disc that is causing that vibration or pulsation. Furthermore, if the car begins to pull to one side or another when breaking, you may have severe damage to the front pads.
It is important to pay attention to all the signs of bad brakes for the safety of you, other drivers, and those surrounding the area. Make sure to call a trusted professional if you think you have encountered any of the issues discussed above.