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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.

  1. You apply the brakes and hear a high pitch or grinding noise. This is a strong indicator that the brakes have worn thin.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

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