Home > 4 Signs It May Be Time to Replace Your Brakes


Car trouble is never fun for anyone. One minute, everything’s fine, the next you may be facing hefty repairs or replacements for one of your vehicle’s most important parts: your brakes. Knowing when your brakes need to be replaced is key to effective and safe driving and may just save you both time and money down the road. Regular maintenance that includes a full point inspection can often let you know in advance if any of the key components of your car are wearing down or need replacement. Below are a few indicators it may be time to get your brakes checked.

brake pedal in vehicle

  1. Your safety light flashes on: A built-in safety feature in many newer model vehicles is the safety light that may indicate your brakes could use some attention.
  2. Squealing Brakes: One of the first indications that your brakes may need to be checked or replaced is the sound they make. If you stop at a stoplight and notice a squealing noise coming from under your car, it’s a good indicator that you may need

Next to your engine and transmission, your brakes are the most important part of your vehicle. Brakes failing while on the road can be extremely dangerous and can cause potentially life-threatening accidents. Ensuring your car’s brakes are functioning properly is an important service you shouldn’t ignore.

brake warning light on dashboard of vehicle

Warning Signs of Brake Failure

Your vehicle’s warning light should indicate that your brakes have started to go bad before they entirely fail. Other indications of brake failure include:

  • A grinding sound when you press the pedal down, indicating worn brake disks
  • Having to apply more and more pressure to the brake pedal to come to a stop
  • A vibrating sensation when applying the brakes
  • Your vehicle moving to one side when braking
  • A burning smell
  • A puddle on your driveway may suggest a brake fluid leak

What Causes Brake Failure?

  1. The most common cause of brake failure is loss of brake fluid. The fluid transfers the force you exert by pushing down on the brake pedal to the brake disks that slow and

An ABS, or anti-lock brake system, works to protect you. If your wheels were to lock when brakes were applied while you were driving, you could easily lose control of the vehicle. An ABS uses pressure modulation to effectively brake without locking your wheels.

ABS light on signaling maintenance is required

Why is ABS Important?

An ABS is important to help your car run properly. Anytime you brake, you put pressure on your vehicle. A good ABS relieves pressure and helps your vehicle to function at its best performance.

When you press on your brakes, the ABS employs anti-slip control. It tells your tires to transition from their standard rolling range into the brake slip range. As your tires go through this process, the ABS works to ensure that they stay in the optimal range at all times, regardless of how much braking force you apply. This keeps your tires rolling, and most importantly, you in control of the car. Your ABS works to keep you safe when you brake!

Signs of a Failing ABS Control Module

Since your ABS control module

While you may not know exactly how your car’s brakes function, ensuring that they work properly is essential in keeping you, your passengers, and other drivers safe. Keep reading to learn more about brakes, how they work, and why proper brake maintenance is imperative.

properly maintained car brake stopping vehicle

How do Brakes Work?

In order for a vehicle in motion to come to a stop, it must eliminate the kinetic energy. When a driver pushes down on the brakes, the car is able to use the force of friction to transform the kinetic energy to heat. When you step on the brakes, the hydraulic system in place multiplies the force of your foot on the brake pedal into enough force to stop the car.

Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes

Brakes are usually one of two types: disc brakes or drum brakes. Disc brakes are comprised of brake discs, calipers, and brake pads. Drum brakes are comprised of a brake drum and brake shoes. In most new car models, disc brakes are used for the front wheels and drum brakes

The braking system is a very important part of your vehicle. It also faces a lot of normal wear-and-tear and requires routine service. Keep reading to learn more about how your brakes work, the difference between disc and drum brakes, and when you should have them serviced.

mechanic installing disc brake on vehicle

What are Disc Brakes?

Newer vehicles usually have a disc brake system. Disc brakes are more common than drum brakes, but some vehicles use both braking systems. These brakes can be found on one or both axles, depending on the vehicle. Disc brakes consist of three main parts: the rotor, caliper, and brake pads.

When you step on the brakes in your vehicle, the caliper causes the brake pads to squeeze the rotor. This creates friction which then slows the vehicle. The pros tend to outweigh the cons when it comes to disc brakes:


  • More stopping power/shorter stopping distance
  • Better performance in rain and snow
  • Less likely to lock up during heavy braking
  • Easier to service
  • Self-cleaning
  • Less grabbing/pulling
  • Consistent performance due to better heat management