Know the five warning signs that it may be time for brake repair service. In each of the listed cases, AAA recommends taking the vehicle to a qualified auto repair shop (www.aaa.com/autorepair) for inspection and service. A professional inspection will help determine the extent of the needed repair, from brake pad installation to brake replacement.
- You apply the brakes and hear a high pitch or grinding noise. This is a strong indicator that the brakes have worn thin.
- You apply the brakes and feel a vibration. This indicates warped brake rotors. A professional inspection can help determine whether they should be resurfaced or replaced.
- The brake pedal feels differently – either low or spongy – and takes more effort to apply. This means there’s a potential problem with the brake system that should be promptly diagnosed.
- You apply the parking brake, either by foot or hand, and do not feel resistance. This may require an adjustment or a repair. (Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, AAA recommends always applying the parking brake before exiting the vehicle.)
- The dashboard indicator for the anti-lock braking system (ABS) is illuminated (usually yellow). The ABS prevents the wheels from locking up so you can maintain control of the vehicle during hard stops.