Top 5 Signs You Need a Car Brake Inspection

Man giving a car brake inspection on a beetle car with a plate titled dinocar

Car brake inspection is as important as it gets. The brake system is one of the top components in a motor vehicle because the braking mechanism comprises many parts that work together to allow you to stop or slow down your car when necessary. Thus, it is important for your brakes to be maintained properly. Neglecting regular examinations of the brake system could result in more expensive repairs, unexpected downtime, and a potentially hazardous situation for you, your loved ones, and other drivers.

There are several signs that show that your brakes need attention. As soon as you notice any of the signs below, take your car for an inspection.

1. Worn-Out Brake Pads or Shoes

Worn-out brake pads can negatively affect your driving experience. When they wear thin, the metal backing of the pad can press against the rotor, causing a loud screeching noise. You may also observe that the brake flare and pedal pressure point have moved closer to the floor than normal. And if it smells rather unusual, you might also want to check that too.

Certain older car models use brake shoes instead of pads. A reduced stopping distance, as well as a lack of grip power when applying the parking brakes, can be a sign of worn-out brake shoes. If you notice any of these brake issues, it’s important to have your vehicle looked at by a mechanic for a car brake inspection. If the mechanic finds that the problem is worn-out brake shoes or pads, the solution is replacing them.

2. Unusual Sounds and Vibrations

It is normal for your vehicle to make slight noises when braking as the pads press against the rotors. However, if you hear screeching or grinding sounds every time you step on the brake pedal, that could show a problem with your braking system. Screeches and squeaks are usually indicators that the brake pads are worn out. When the pads reach a certain thickness, a warning indicator will make noise so that you replace or repair them.

Squealing or screeching noises can also occur when brake pads are improperly installed or loosen. Here, it is best to replace the pads and inspect the hardware that connects them to the vehicle. Harsh grinds show metal scraping against metal. This could be a sign of caliper anchor plate problem or worn-out rotors.

Vehicle vibrations can reveal a problem in your wheels or suspension system. A wheel alignment is necessary if it does not affect your braking system. However, if this vibration happens every time you use your brakes, it could mean that one or more of your rotors are bent or warped. Other reasons for vehicle vibrations are sticky calipers and uneven application of pad pressure from one side of the brake to another side.

3. Car Pulling

If you come to a stop and feel your car pulling to one side, it could signal that at least one of your brake calipers is sticking. When the caliper sticks in the closed position, it causes an imbalanced braking force, which makes your vehicle pull when you apply the brakes.

The caliper may stick because it’s missing lubrication, the piston seals may be dried out, or it might need new pads. In most cases, the caliper of a disc braking system can be removed and rebuilt in a few hours using basic tools.

4. Mushy or Hard Pedal

There are several reasons your car’s brake pedal feels mushy, including worn-out brake pads and low or no brake fluid in the master cylinder. Start by checking the brake fluid level, then check the entire brake system for leaks. Sometimes an issue with a master cylinder can cause a leak and low brake fluid levels, which may leave you with a spongy brake pedal feel. Another common symptom that causes mushy brakes is air in the hydraulic line of the system, which will leave you with little to no brakes at all.

A brake pedal that is hard to push could result from incorrect pedal adjustment or an obstruction in a brake line. Alternatively, it could be due to worn-out brake pads, low or no brake fluid in the master cylinder, or damage to the hydraulic system because of air in the hydraulic line, an air leak, or a leak in the wheel cylinders.

5. Dashboard Brake Lights

The dashboard brake light is a mechanism that signals to drivers and mechanics the deterioration of the braking system. Most commonly, it’s triggered when there is too much pad wear in your brakes or if the fluid or parking brake needs attention as well.

The dashboard light can also be activated if you have defective calipers, a damaged sensor, or other similar problems with your braking system. To make sure that the problem doesn’t get more serious, especially if it comes on suddenly, have a trusted mechanic assess your vehicle’s braking system immediately. 


The best approach to keeping your brakes in proper working order is to have them inspected and maintained regularly. Get your vehicle a car brake inspection out at a garage for brake problems immediately if you notice any of the warning signs outlined above. Ignoring these signs can be incredibly dangerous.

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