Simple Answers: Disc Brakes

Question: What are the signs that I need a brake job?


Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories: making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal.  Let's start with the noise.

Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator.  This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced.  The noise is a chirp or soft squeal.  This noise gives you enough warning to get your brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to enable you to stop safely.

If you ignore the chirp, the sound may change to a grinding noise.  That is more serious.  It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes.  Obviously, this metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren't stopping very well.  It also means that your rotor is being damaged.  It may need to be resurfaced or even replaced.

Pedal pulsation is another noticeable problem.  When your rotor is not in perfect alignment, it pushes against the brake pads unevenly as you apply the brakes.  There could be several reasons for this.  The rotor and wheel hub may not be mating well, causing the rotor to be spinning out of vertical alignment.  This misalignment can be caused by either the rotor or the hub, or a combination of the two.  If this condition persists, the rotor may even start to wear unevenly to the point that its thickness varies, causing an even more noticeable pulsation.  This uneven mating of the brake pad and the rotor when braking means less contact and decreased braking power.

Your service center can determine the cause of the misalignment and remedy the problem.

Either unusual brake noise or pedal pulsation are signs that there are brake problems.  You should have your service center do a thorough brake inspection and recommend any action necessary to correct the problem.

A regular brake inspection is on every vehicle's recommended list.  Ask your service advisor if it's time for a brake inspection.


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Carmasters Automotive

931 E Little Creek Rd.

Norfolk, VA 23518


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