The Signs Your Brakes are Wearing Out  | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

The Signs Your Brakes are Wearing Out 

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Brakes are the most important safety feature on your car, which means you should be well-versed in the signs that mean your brakes are beginning to wear out. At Scott’s Auto, we want you to be safe on the road. If you notice these signs, you need to bring your car to one of our locations as soon as possible for a brake check. 

How the Brakes Work

We all know that when we step on the brake in our car it stops, but many don’t realize that it’s more complex of a process than just pressing your foot down. A car in motion has a lot of kinetic energy, which is energy of motion. To bring your car to a stop, the brakes have to get rid of that motion energy. They do this by using the force of friction to convert that kinetic energy into heat. 

When you hit the brakes, a connected lever pushes a piston into the master cylinder, which is filled with hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid gets pushed along a system of pipes into other cylinders positioned next to the brakes on each wheel. 

Next, the hydraulic system multiples the force of your foot on the brake pedal into enough force to make the car stop. Disc brakes consist of a brake disc, a brake caliper, and a brake pad. When you press on the brakes, the hydraulic fluid causes the caliper to press the pad against the disc. The friction of the brake against the disc converts kinetic energy into heat in the brake pad. The heat is so great that it can reach up to 950 degrees Fahrenheit or more. To withstand this amount of heat, the pads are made of special materials that won’t melt. 

Signs Your Brakes are Wearing

It’s never good when your car starts making weird sounds, and it’s even worse when you realize those problems are the result of a problem with the most important safety feature on your car — your brakes. If you notice these signs, it could mean your brakes are wearing: 

  • Screeching, grinding, squealing, rubbing, and other weird noises. These strange noises are common signs that your brake pads need to be looked at. The sooner the better, as worn pads can cause damage to other parts, which could result in more costly repairs. 
  • Vibration and pulsation in the pedal or your steering wheel. If this is a familiar feeling, your brake system is telling you something is wrong. If you don’t get this inspected quickly, your rotors might get warped from the friction, and could result in more repairs. 
  • Having to press down farther to complete braking. This sign is not as common as it used to be. However, if you find that you’re pressing down farther than usual on your pedal to stop your car, requiring more pressure and time to stop as usual, this is a sign the pads are wearing out. 
  • A burning smell. If you notice a burning smell coming from your tires, it could mean there is an issue with your brakes. 

Any of these signs should be concerning. Don’t wait to stop by if you begin experiencing any sign of braking wear and tear. 

Stop by Scott’s Auto

If you are noticing any of the signs above and are worried it’s your brakes, bring your car by Scott’s Auto. With four convenient locations in Fort Collins, Loveland, Grand Junction, and Montrose, we’re here for all of your car needs. We are a full-service auto repair center that specializes in providing quality services. Locally owned and operated, you can trust us for all of your car’s needs. 


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