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What Are the Signs of Bad Brakes?

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What Are the Signs of Bad Brakes?

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Modern car braking systems are made from materials that can last anywhere from 25,000 to 60,000 miles, provided motorists practice good driving habits. The length of time the brakes on your car last will depend on factors such as how much you drive and the climate you live in. Yet problems can also begin to pop up within even the first year of owning your vehicle, especially if you bought it used or you drive long distances. The insurance experts from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto insurance San Diego drivers rely on for high-quality service and affordable coverage, list some of the signs of brake problems that let you know when your car needs an inspection to make sure it’s safe to drive on public roads.

Seeing the Brake Light Come On

Most cars today have a warning light that will show up on the dash indicating a problem with the brake system. The light may stay on constantly, or it could come on intermittently. You might also notice it activate when you press on the brakes. If a light comes on, take your car in for an inspection, even if the light turns off. It’s better to err on the side of caution rather than get into an accident.

Hearing Squeals & Screeching

When you use your brakes, the pads press on the rotors to slow down your vehicle. The friction generated by this process eventually causes the brake pads to wear down. Brake pad manufacturers put thin metal shims into the material that serve the purpose of making this sound. An occasional squeak after a rainstorm could just be from debris building up between the pad and rotor, but you’ll need to consider this a warning sound if it continues to happen.

Noticing Grinding Noises

If you ignore the brake pad wear for too long, you’ll eventually notice the squeals turn into a loud grinding or roaring sound. This indicates the brake pads have completely worn down and the metal calipers are now rubbing against the rotors. Once this happens, the calipers can cause deep grooves to form in the rotors, which can lead to more expensive repairs. The grinding sound also means your car’s braking system is severely compromised and requires immediate repairs before you continue driving.

Feeling a Vibrating or Pulsating Sensation

Brake rotors can warp due to heat exposure or extreme use. The loss of a smooth surface causes the brake pads to move across them differently, and this can create a vibrating sensation you’ll notice whenever you press down on the pedal. People who tow heavy objects, such as boats, are more likely to have this problem occur sooner than drivers who only use their vehicles for normal commutes.

Seeing Leaking Fluid

Brake fluid plays an essential role in the braking system by creating hydraulic pressure that activates the brake caliper. Without fluid, the braking system cannot work, and you could experience a serious accident. Distinguishing brake fluid from other automotive fluids can sometimes be challenging, but you can check the reservoir by looking under the hood. If it looks low or is empty, call for a tow truck or mobile mechanic to check out the brake system.

In addition to making sure your car’s components are operating correctly, having adequate auto insurance is essential to protect yourself and your investment. When they need affordable, reliable car insurance, Chula Vista residents need look no further than the trustworthy pros at Altra Insurance Services. We can take care of a variety of your insurance needs, including motorcycle, homeowners, and business insurance as well as surety bonds. Give us a call today at 619-404-6311 to find out more about our high-quality insurance products and impeccable service.

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