Five Early Warning Signs You Need New Brakes

January 25th, 2024 by

The new year is here, meaning that unfortunately, your car is officially one model year older. By proxy, your brakes have also experienced another year of wear and tear. Luckily, by remaining attentive to subtle signals from your brakes, you can avoid potentially expensive repair estimates this year. Furthermore, being able to identify and quickly act upon these signs is pivotal towards extending your vehicle’s overall lifespan.

Courtesy of the service professionals at Volkswagen of Macon, here are five warning signs that suggest it’s time to replace your brake pads or rotors.

High-Pitched Screeching 

Our ears often pick up on brake problems before our eyes do. That’s thanks to the high-pitched screech that emits from the brake pads as they gradually wear down. Interestingly, the screeching sound isn’t directly caused by worn-out brakes; manufacturers insert a purposeful piece of metal within the brake pads so that you’re aware when a replacement is required.

If you’re still hearing a squealing even after installing new brake pads, it’s possible that your rotors are glazed. Glazing occurs when the metal gets heated up and burns after excessive braking. Take a look at your rotors for any blue marks or dark rings; either is a sign that you need to replace the rotors as well.

If you notice a harsh, metallic sound rather than a high-pitched squeal, it indicates that your brake pads have completely worn out past the point where replacement is possible. Immediately take your vehicle to us for brake service, as ignoring this issue could lead to severe safety repercussions.

The Eye Test 

Sometimes you don’t have to overthink things. Thoroughly inspect your brake pads frequently, because if it look like they have a problem, it’s likely because they do. If you’re having trouble locating them, they’re wedged between the wheels’ spokes, pressed up against the rotors. Measure the pads, and if you find they’re less than a quarter of an inch thick, it’s time to schedule your service at Healdsburg Chevy.

Performance Anomalies 

When your brakes become slow to respond, it may be due to a leak in your braking system. If your brakes are sending out vibrations (the kind that causes your steering wheel to shake, not the good, Beach Boys kind), either the brake pads or rotors are begging for your attention.

Your brakes are always sending messages like these to clue you into their condition. The more in tune you are with your vehicle, the better you’ll become at assessing when and why your vehicle is behaving unusually.

Extreme Sensitivity 

Imagine you started your Volkswagen Arteon this morning, expecting the same aerodynamic trip to work that you’re used to. Instead you find your brakes behaving with unusual sensitivity, jerking you to a halt at the slightest tap of the brake pad. This could be due to either the rotors wearing down unevenly or the brake fluid needing replacement.

Conversely, you could encounter a situation where your brakes become unresponsive unless you apply excessive force. This could indicate low brake fluid, worn brake pads, or even a potential problem with your car’s hydraulic system.

Puddle of Doom 

The worst sight on a beautiful sunny day is finding a puddle formed beneath your stationary car. You hope it’s residue from an overnight shower, but considering that the rest of your surroundings are dry as a bone… it’s most likely your brake fluid leaking. You should be able to distinguish between regular motor oil and the thinner consistency of brake fluid. In either case, your car is thirsty and needs a fluid refill right away.

Give Me a Brake

Don’t leave your fate in the hands of of worn-out brake pads, glazed rotors, or a faulty hydraulic system. Visit us at Volkswagen of Macon today, where we never pump the brakes on a good deal. Check out our large selection of new and pre-owned vehicles, and discover why your dream car may be just a quick stop away.