Because being able to bring your vehicle to a safe and controlled stop is imperative, keeping your brakes in good condition may be the single most important thing you can do to maintain the safety of your vehicle and its passengers. Regular brake maintenance can prevent more time in the shop down the road. Remember: if your brakes feel “off,” they probably are.
When your brake system is functioning properly, the caliper squeezes the brake pads together, creating friction between the pads and the rotors. Depending on driving environment and habits, brake pads typically last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, and rotors can last up to 3 times longer.
Brake fluid can alter your braking system’s operation, and a good rule of thumb is to replace brake fluid whenever you replace brake pads.
There are several telltale symptoms of failing brakes (other than an obvious light on the dashboard) that you, as the driver, should be aware of:
Unusual noises occur when brakes are applied.
A pulsating/vibrating sensation when your foot presses down on the brake pedal.
The steering wheel begins to shake when brakes are applied.
Your brake pedal offers less resistance than normal, or even pushes down to the floor.
When brakes are applied, the vehicles “pulls” to one side or the other.
There are many causes for brake damage or failure, and many of them boil down to a lack of proper maintenance. Properly caring for your brakes means maintaining recommended levels of brake fluid and making sure that your brake pads and rotors are in good shape. Regular wear and tear on brakes is amplified under extreme weather conditions (and corrosion from road salt). Like most things in life, if you take good care of your brakes, they’ll perform better and last longer.