How To Tell If You Need A Brake Service

All components on your car serve a purpose but few are as important as tyres and car brakes. Considering they help control your speed and bring your car to a safe stop, you simply cannot go without them. To ensure your safety and that of other road users, booking a regular brake service is absolutely vital. Today, we take a closer look at how long brake pads are supposed to last and what prompts a brake service.

When To Get A Brake Service

Brakes are not exempt from regular maintenance as they do wear over time. It’s important to have them checked to make sure everything is working correctly and effectively. Your annual MOT or car service provides the ideal opportunity for technicians to assess whether you need a brake repair service. However, there are a few warning signs that could help indicate that your brakes aren’t working as they should.

Metallic Grinding Noise

A grinding noise when pressing the brake is indicative of worn-out brake pads. The way it works is that a metal wear indicator on the brake pads make a noise when it comes into contact with the brake disc.

If they are worn down to this extent, exposed metal will grind against metal trying to stop the car. The sound may be annoying but that will be the least of your concerns as ignoring it can cause serious damage to the exposed metal underneath. It’s best to book a brake service rather sooner than later.

Squealing Brakes

Whilst grinding noises are often more sinister, squeaking brakes can also have a direct impact on how you drive and brake. If your car has been parked in the rain or standing water for a long time, rust could form on the discs. This is usually not a serious concern as it should wear off as you drive but in other cases, it can be a real warning sign that you need new brake pads. When this happens, the least you can do is get a free visual inspection by a brake specialist at Elite Garages.

Steering Wheel Vibration

If your steering wheel or brake pedal vibrates when slowing down, it’s time to at least check your brakes as it might require a brake service as well. These sort of vibrations are often early signs that your brake discs may be warped due to excessive heat build-up.

Car Pulls To One Side

A tell-tale sign that your car brakes have worn unevenly is when the vehicle pulls to one side. When your car is in good working order, it should drive straight even when you brake. If it doesn’t, you could face a potentially dangerous situation when braking hard in an emergency. Please note that in some instances this is also due to a sticking brake caliper. The best solution is to ask a brake specialist to take a look.

Fluid Leaks On The Inner Wheels

Aside from brake pads and brake discs, there are also other components to keep in mind. For example, if there are worn seals, loose connections or cracks in the hoses, air and fluid can leak, resulting in poor braking performance. Keep a close eye out for brake fluid on the inner wheels, or on the ground where you park as you may need to arrange a brake service.

Fading Brake Pedal

When the brake pedal fades into the floor, there may be a leak in the system with air getting into the brake linings or you have to adjust the brakes. The same applies when you have to pump the brakes to stop the car which often indicates a serious issue.

Brake Service Warning Light

The most obvious sign that you need a brake service is when your dashboard displays the brake warning light. When this happens, we recommend getting your car checked immediately as this could indicate a fault in the brake hydraulic system. Find out more about the dashboard warning lights in your car.

How Long Do Brake Pads And Discs Last?

It’s often very difficult to give a precise figure but, on average, brake pads should last 30,000 to 70,000 miles but sometimes more. Brake discs typically last longer than brake pads where you can expect 80,000 to 120,000 miles from one set.

However, the longevity of car brakes depends on several factors, including the type of brakes fitted and how you drive. Make sure you check both sets of brake pads and brake discs when booking an inspection. It’s common for one set to deteriorate if the other one has already seen better days but a brake service from a reputable garage will help sort you out.

Keep track of when you replace your brake pads and discs replacements in your vehicle’s service book. It’s a great way to estimate how long it lasts and when to arrange your next brake check, brake service or repair. Have a look at this article for a general idea of the average brake pad replacement cost in the UK.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Car Brakes

As we’ve established earlier, there are various reasons you may need a brake repair but what can you do to make them last longer? Our brake experts at Elite Garages have compiled a shortlist of things to do (and not to do).

  • Brake gently as heavy braking generates more friction which puts additional strain on your front brakes
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to brake
  • Avoid riding the brakes when going downhill or in traffic
  • If possible, avoid driving in rush-hour traffic
  • Don’t tailgate and slow down gently when following in traffic
  • Remove unnecessary items and only keep what you need
  • Use engine braking more often
  • Clean your brakes with the rest of your car
  • Replace your brake fluid every two years

Recommended: ‘Step-by-Step Guide On Replacing Your Own Brake Pads

Brake Service Near Me

If you know your car well, it should be easy to tell when something just doesn’t feel right. When you notice that your car brakes are not working as they used to, it could be that your brake pads and discs are old or worn which can result in less grip or old brake fluid. In more serious cases, there may be fluid or pressure leaks in the hydraulic system which can be downright dangerous.

If you are unsure about your car brakes and need some assistance, book a FREE visual brake inspection at Elite Garages. We have branches across the south and south-east, including Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton, Maidstone and Southampton among many others. Click here to find an Elite centre near you and for more information on car servicing, MOTs, wheel alignment and your next brake service.