Skip to main content

8 Signs It’s Time for Your Car’s Brakes to Be Checked

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

Signs that Your Car's Brakes Need to Be Checked

Signs that Your Car's Brakes Need to Be Checked

How often should you get your car’s brakes checked? If you’re unsure of the answer, you’re not alone! Many drivers who take their cars in for annual inspections and tune-ups don’t realize that brake checkups are just as important to keep their vehicles safe on the road. Here are 10 signs it’s time to schedule an appointment with your mechanic to have your brakes checked and serviced.

  1. You Hear a Whistling Sound
  2. The Car Pulls to One Side
  3. You Can Feel Vibrations While Driving
  4. The Pedal Feels Spongy
  5. There Is Excessive Fading When Applying the Brakes
  6. The Abs Light Comes on During Normal Driving Conditions
  7. Low Car Fluid Indicator Flashes or Lights Up
  8. You Experience Difficulties Maneuvering Around Corners

1. You Hear a Whistling Sound

A whistling sound when you are driving is a sign that your brake pads are close to wearing out and need replacement. This may also be caused by excess play in worn-out rotors or from warped rotors, but more commonly it is a sign of worn pads. Most cars have at least 60,000 miles before their brake pads should be replaced, but if you hear a whistling sound every time you drive, it’s time for your brakes to be checked.

If you hear a whistling sound every time you are driving, it is important that you get your car looked at. If your brakes are making a whistling sound when not pressed down on, but stop making noise once you press down on them, it usually means that something is obstructing them from making contact with your wheel.

If you press down on your brakes, and they do not stop whistling or they start making a louder noise, you should have them checked immediately. A whistling sound can also mean that your brake pads are worn out.

2. The Car Pulls to One Side

Often, cars pull to one side when braking is a sign that your brakes need to be checked. When you step on your brake pedal, it should feel even—no pulling or jerking to one side. If you notice a car pulling while braking, have a mechanic inspect and repair it immediately; unbalanced brakes can lead to serious damage and repairs down the road.

Additionally, if there is a constant pulling sensation when stopping in both directions (for example, between home and work), it may indicate warped rotors that need to be replaced.

3. You Can Feel Vibrations While Driving

If you notice that your car is starting to vibrate while you drive, it could mean that there is a problem with your brake system and/or rotors. This can lead to more serious issues down the road, which is why it’s so important to get your brakes checked as soon as possible.

Scroll to Continue

Even if your car doesn’t start to vibrate, it could still mean that there is an issue with your brakes. If you notice that your rotors are starting to become warped, it means they are wearing out. That is something that needs to be taken care of right away as well because warped rotors can lead to more serious issues down the road.

4. The Pedal Feels Spongy

If your brake pedal feels soft or spongy when you step on it, there could be air in your brake lines. The result of air in these lines is a soft pedal, which means that some of your brakes aren’t doing their job. If you suspect that you have an air bubble in your line, get it looked at as soon as possible. This problem can lead to overheating, which is never good for a car's brakes.

So, next time you have to step on your brakes, check out your brake pedal before going on a drive. If it feels soft or spongy, you might want to take it in as soon as possible.

5. There Is Excessive Fading When Applying the Brakes

As your brake pads wear down, you will notice that your brakes perform more and more poorly. This might begin with some light fading when braking or slight vibrations in your steering wheel. If you notice excessive fading when applying your brakes, it could mean that your brake pads are worn and need replacement. If you feel uncomfortable driving like that, go ahead and replace them immediately—better safe than sorry!

Note: You may also notice excess wear on your brake rotors (the piece in between the tires and calipers). And yes, before anyone asks—while most rotors can typically handle moderate amounts of wear, they are designed to be replaced every so often as well. If you see any fade whatsoever on your pedals when braking, get them checked out immediately!

6. The Abs Light Comes on During Normal Driving Conditions

This can indicate a loose or broken wire, which means your car may not have anti-lock brakes. You should immediately drive to a safe location and stop as soon as possible. Have someone check under your hood to see if everything appears fine, and if it does, check with a mechanic as soon as you can. Driving without working ABS is dangerous and puts you at greater risk of losing control of your vehicle in an emergency braking situation. The brakes may still work, but depending on what is causing the light to come on, they may not be working properly—meaning it will take longer for them to bring your car safely to a stop. If there are no other lights coming on or other symptoms present (like constant screeching noises), then check out our next tip below!

7. Low Car Fluid Indicator Flashes or Lights Up

If your low car fluid indicator lights up or flashes, you should start looking into why. The reason could be simple; perhaps a tire popped. However, if your fluids are running low, that could lead to other problems with your brakes so you definitely want to address it immediately. One quick and easy way of checking that is by getting down on your hands and knees, opening up a door and seeing if there is any water coming out from under your car. If there is, something could very well be wrong with your brake system which will most likely involve maintenance or repair work on your part; a costly endeavor but one that will ultimately help keep you safe while driving in traffic as well as getting you where you need to go in one piece every time!

8. You Experience Difficulties Maneuvering Around Corners

If you notice yourself having to move your car more slowly around corners, it could mean that you need new brakes. When your brakes are working properly, they push both of your wheels against the road surface in order to slow down or stop your vehicle. However, when one wheel is rubbing against a tire rim more than the other wheel, cornering becomes difficult and dangerous—and it’s usually a sign that your brake pads need changing. To prevent accidents on these curves (and in general), have your vehicle's brake system inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. If you notice unusual noises coming from either of your wheels while driving, get out of traffic as quickly as possible and contact us at Beck’s Auto Body today!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq

Related Articles