How to tell when you need new brake rotors and pads?June 15, 2021
If you’re hearing noises from your brakes like squealing, squeaking, or metal-on-metal grinding sounds, you for sure need to change your brakes. However, sometimes it’s not super clear and you still need new parts. The actual element you need to replace depends on the symptoms your car is showing. Here are the most common symptoms and the culprits behind them:
Slower brake performance
If you are noticing your car takes longer to stop or your brakes aren’t that responsive anymore, you might have a brake fluid leak or an air leak in the system. Check for liquid underneath your car after you pull away from your parking spot. The difference between engine oil and brake fluid oil is the latter is less “slimy” to the touch, if you feel the cement under your vehicle.
Pulling & vibration
If your car pulls to one side, your brakes may be wearing unevenly and need to be replaced. Same goes for vibration which can be caused by warped rotors. Both of these problems can also be caused by misalignment of your wheels. Test for alignment by driving on a straight road and briefly letting go of the steering wheel - if your car immediately veers off to the side, you have an issue. Misalignment happens when your vehicle’s suspension, wheels, and axles aren’t all squared anymore and may be pointing in different directions. This can damage other parts.
Do I need to replace my entire brakes?
Sometimes, on older vehicles, you may need to replace the entire braking system. Quite a complicated and costly operation, this repair is only recommended if you really care for your car and or if it’s valuable. For newer models, you can get away with a pad slap where you only replace brake pads that have worn down and leave the rest of the braking system intact. Other times, you can change your brake pads and your brake rotors which should last you another 3-4 years. When doing that, you can add a brake fluid flush which isn’t necessary for a brake pad replacement only.