Most cars need brake service about once every 50,000 miles, but this can vary based on your make, model, and driving habits. Regardless, staying on top of your car's brake system maintenance will keep you safer on the road, while also avoiding the need for a more serious and costly auto repair later on. Can't tell if your car needs brake service? There are a few telltale signs to watch for.
Your Car is Pulling to One Side While Braking
When you hit the brake pedal on your car, it should come to a smooth stop without pulling to one side. If you notice that your car tends to pull to one side while you're braking, this is typically a sign of worn rotors or brake calipers. However, other car problems (including tires that are out-of-balance) can also cause a car to pull to one side while braking, so it's best to bring your car in to a trusted auto repair shop to get to the bottom of the cause.
Your Steering Wheel Vibrates While Braking
If your steering wheel and/or brake pedal seems to be vibrating when you hit the brakes, this is almost always due to worn rotors. Rotors become unevenly worn when your brake pads are not replaced as often as needed. When rotors experience uneven wear, this results in the vibration or rumbling that you may be feeling when you come to a stop.
It's Taking Longer Than Normal for Your Car to Brake
At the end of the day, you know best what's normal for your car versus what's not normal. If you're noticing that it seems like your car is taking longer to come to a stop, this could mean that your brake pads have simply become worn and need to be replaced. Fortunately, this is a relatively quick and inexpensive repair that can be done by any reputable auto repair professional.
Your Car is Leaking Yellow or Brown Fluid
Last but not least, if you notice that your car is leaking a brown or yellow-ish fluid, be sure to have this assessed immediately. This could be brake fluid leaking, which can be extremely dangerous if left unrepaired.
Dealing with brake problems can be a real hassle, but the good news is that many brake problems can be diagnosed and repaired for a couple hundred dollars. From there, you can get behind the wheel with greater confidence and peace of mind.