Although hybrids and electric vehicles are different from standard combustion engines, they have many similarities as well. Keeping up with regular maintenance such as oil changes and tire maintenance is important. One of the overlooked aspects of vehicle care is your brakes. Many drivers don’t pay mind to their brake’s health until they notice warning signs.
Proactive measures are important, but once you notice symptoms of failing brakes, it’s time to get your brakes checked by a professional. Here are a few of the signs it’s time to change your brakes:
Responsiveness Begins to Fade
One of the first signs you may notice is your brakes being less responsive as they used to be. You may notice a “sinking” feel when you engage the brake pedal, as if it sinks toward the floor.
Brake fluid leaks are a main cause of this. If you suspect that your brakes do have a fluid leak, inspect the vehicle by looking for a puddle when the vehicle is parked. Brake fluid is less viscous in texture than motor oil but looks similar. Many automotive shops will check your brakes for free.
If your vehicle has been aligned recently and is still vibrating or pulsating, your rotors may be warped. This vibration is similar in feeling to when you make a quick stop with anti-lock brakes. If the vibration occurs during situations when anti-lock brakes are not in use, it’s time to check your rotors.
Warped rotors can occur due to prolonged friction from heavy braking. Over time, this friction creates heat and causes the rotors to warp. When you feel a vibration, it is because the brake pads cannot grab the surface. Allowing the brakes to cool off by stopping during long drives can alleviate some of the strain.
Pulling to One Side
There are two things to have checked if your vehicle pulls to one side when braking. Either the brake fluid needs to be drained and replaced, or the brakes need an adjustment. Regarding the latter, it can be caused by brake linings with uneven wear.
Loud Grinding Noises
One of the most worrisome symptoms is a loud “growling” or grinding noise when coming to a stop. This is caused when the disc and caliper (both metal pieces) rub together. Unfortunately, this occurs when the pads are completely worn down and beyond replacement. This also means the rotors may be scratched which creates uneven surfaces on them. If the rotors have been damaged, you may need to have the rotors fixed or even replaced. Changing brakes and neglecting the rotors will cause you to be back in the same situation a lot sooner than expected.
The most telltale sign it’s time to change your brakes is the high-pitched screeching when braking. If you hear the sound often while applying your brakes, an appointment should be made to have your mechanic inspect the brake pads.
If your vehicle has been sitting after being in the rain, or after you’ve washed it, the squealing is likely not cause for concern. This happens when rust develops on the rotors. Your brake pads press on the rusted rotors, causing the screeching sound until the rust is worn off and the sound will stop.
Many vehicle owners overlook maintenance when it comes to their brakes. Keeping your vehicle’s brake system in good working order and having them checked often is the best course of action.
Save yourself costly repairs down the line and avoid a dangerous situation by taking preventative measures. If you’ve reached the point that you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, schedule a visit with your mechanic as soon as possible.