Heels & Horsepower Magazine


3 Quick & Easy Ways To Check The Effectiveness Of Your Brakes

By H&H Admin

If your car has disc brakes, then you’ve got a small piece of material called a brake pad to thank each time you slow down or stop. When you press down on the brake pedal, brake pads are pushed against a disc in your tyre, creating the friction that slows your car.

This process will cause your brake pads to wear down and become less effective over time, meaning that checking and replacing them on a regular basis is a crucial part of maintaining your car. 

When considering how often to replace brake pads, know that it varies depending on where you drive and how liberal you are with your brake use. A brake pad check is usually part of your routine car maintenance, but it’s best to know how to check brake pads yourself to see if they’re approaching replacement time.

1. Listen for a squealing noise when braking

Sometimes listening to the sounds your car makes is the best way to determine if something is wrong. You can always tell when to replace brake pads if your brakes start to squeak or grind every time you apply them. Many brake pads are designed with a piece of metal that is intended to create that telltale squeak once the pad has reached a certain degree of wear.4 When you hear the squeak, it’s time to take a peek.

2. Check for vibration in the brake pedal when braking

Worn brake pads don’t just squeak, they’ll also create vibrations throughout the car that you can feel in the steering wheel and brake pedal. If you feel that vibration, it’s a sign that either your pads need to be replaced or your rotor (the disc your pads press against to create friction) has become warped. In either case, it’s time to take your car in for servicing.5

3. Have a professional mechanic inspect the brakes

If you notice any squeaking or vibrating, your next step should be to make an appointment with a professional mechanic as soon as possible. 

Brake performance is incredibly important, and the average cost to replace brake pads can vary greatly, so it’s best to take steps to preserve yours. Maintaining a safe following distance from the car in front of you, braking gradually, and avoiding “riding the brake” are all excellent ways to take it easy on your brake pads and extend their lives.


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