Thank goodness for brakes. Without them, you would go sliding through a red-light, racing downhill, and be unable to park in a parking lot. You rely a lot on your brakes. However, oftentimes they are something you do not consciously think about on a daily basis. Since brakes are such an important part of getting you from point a to point b safely, you need to make sure you are taking care of them and serving them regularly. However, if you are going to have issues, those issues likely won’t come out of nowhere. Luckily, there are some warning signs that let you know if you need to get your brakes checked out.

How-to: Know if You Should Get Your Brakes Checked: Important Maintenance

Unusual Noises

It is a definite sign you should get your brakes checked if you hear any unusual noises coming from the brakes. For instance, you may hear a high-pitched noise when that only goes away when you apply the brakes. If so, you’re likely hearing your brake pad wear indicators. They make this terrible sound when they start touching the rotor. When your brakes wear out, you will need to replace them with new ones.

Another sound to listen for is a grinding sound when you apply the brakes. This could mean several different things. It could just be a rock in your caliper, which is an easy fix. However, it could also be that your brake pads have worn through. This can cause damage to the rotor. This sound could also be from a lack of lubrication in your rear drum brakes. Therefore, the brake shoe could be scraping on metal contact points like the backing plate, due to rust. If you hear any of these noises, get your car into a service center as soon as possible. This will help you to stop any further damage and added expenses.

Wobbling or Vibration

Another reason to get your brakes checked is if you feel a wobbling or vibration when braking. Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when you apply the brakes may be the result of an uneven rotor. Another reason could be that the caliper is not releasing properly. In addition, the brake pads and rotor may hit one another if the rotor surface becomes uneven. This could cause some of the pad material to transfer onto the rotor. Then you’ll feel shaking when braking because the pad is hitting that bump in the rotor. If you are experiencing a wobbling or vibration feeling, this is not normal. Take your car into an auto body shop as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to end up with more damage and a bigger bill.

Burning Smell

A bad smell may mean that you need to get your brakes checked out. If you have been braking quite a bit on a steep road, your brakes or clutch could start to overheat. You will notice a sharp, chemical odor. Find a safe place and pull over immediately. Make sure that your parking brake is not on. Then, let the brakes cool down. Otherwise, you could end up heating up your brake fluid to a boiling point, leading to brake failure. If you notice smoke coming from a wheel, you may have a stuck brake caliper. Your car needs maintenance or it may be unsafe to continue driving.

Your brakes are one of the most important safety components in your vehicle. Driving with bad brakes can be very dangerous. You could be a hazard to both yourself as well as others on the road. If you experience any of these warning signs, you need to have someone look at your vehicle ASAP. Make sure that you check your brakes as part of a regular maintenance routine. Otherwise, you could be looking at costly damage and repairs to your vehicle. Even worse, you could end up in a serious accident.