Waiting to get your brakes repaired until only after you have been unable to stop your car safely means you are running a high risk. Not only does this mean that you might endanger yourself and the occupants of your car, but it could also lead to you running into the back of another vehicle or—worse still—failing to stop when a pedestrian is in the road ahead of you. The trouble for the average motorist is knowing when they need to seek professional brake repairs and when they can leave matters until their next service. Pay attention to the following warning signs and take your car for an immediate inspection if you notice any of them.
Listen to Your Brakes
You might have driven around for so long with squealing brakes that you no longer notice it is happening. However, the high-pitched sound of a car that is braking is not normal and may indicate that something needs to be checked professionally. In many cases, squealing brakes won't prevent you from stopping, but the noise may mean that one or more of your car's brake pads are out of alignment. In such cases, your ability to stop rapidly is diminished. Furthermore, you may be wearing down a section of your brake pad more in one place than in others, causing it to do more work and costing you money in the long run. Ignore squealing that occurs immediately after driving in wet conditions, but take action if it persists after your car has dried out.
Look At Your Brake Pads
If your car has disc brakes—and many of the models made in recent years use this form of braking technology exclusively—then it is possible to take a look at how much wear there is left on the pad. As a disc brake is applied, a metal housing is moved sideways towards the wheel itself. Between the wheel and the housing is a pad which will prevent too much friction being applied in one go. You can look at the brake pad quite easily yourself from a side-on perspective. If you see that it has worn down, then seek a replacement from your mechanic or brake specialist.
If your brakes feel fine when you first apply them and then are not so responsive, you may have a serious issue with the brake fluid. Don't adjust your driving style to only apply the brakes slowly because this is simply unsafe. Have your brakes inspected by a professional instead.