When should I get my brakes serviced?

The brakes on your car are arguably the most important safety feature, ensuring that you and your family have stopping control in an emergency situation. Common car brake issues can be dangerous for this reason, and it’s vital that you look after your brakes with regular servicing.

How to know you need a brake service

There are many signs you should be on the lookout for when driving your car that will let you know when it’s time to have your brakes examined. They include:

Dashboard warning lights

The clearest signal that you’re in need of a brake service will come from your car itself. A warning light will appear on your dashboard as soon as your car detects that there is an issue with the braking system. This will usually present in most models of car as a circle with a ‘!’ in the centre, and the word ‘BRAKE!’ written nearby (usually below or above). 

This can indicate a range of issues, from simply needing a mechanic to top up your brake fluid, or something more serious that needs fixing. Whatever the problem ends up being, it is considered unsafe to drive a car that is showing this brake warning, and it should be taken to a mechanic as quickly as possible.

Concerning noises while braking

By paying attention to the noises your car makes as you’re driving and braking, you may catch problems early. Listen carefully when you apply pressure to the brake pedal for anything out of the ordinary. This could be the common squeaky brakes that you may have experienced before, something more concerning like a squealing or screeching noise, or even a grinding, crunching sound coming from your brake disc.

As soon as you consistently hear something that’s out of the ordinary, get in touch with a mechanic so they can diagnose and fix the problem.

Brake response issues

Your brakes may also suffer when it comes to their actual performance. If you’ve noticed that your vehicle isn’t stopping as reliably as it used to, this can be a sign of a serious issue. A delay of less than a second in an emergency situation can be the difference between an accident and a near-miss. 

You might also experience a difference in how your brake pedal feels when applying pressure. If it is taking more pressure to push the pedal down, or it’s feeling more slack or ‘spongy’ under foot, then something is wrong and you’ll need to organise a brake check as soon as possible.

Shuddering when you brake

Similar to the pressure that you’ll feel from your brake pedal, it’s important to take note of any concerning shaking or vibrating coming from the pedal. This can often travel up the steering column and into the steering wheel, resulting in your wheel shaking while you brake. If you notice this, it’s vital that you seek a brake service immediately.

Burning smell

Another obvious sign to look out for is if you notice a sharp burning smell after you’ve applied your brakes or returned from a drive. Smells from your car are reasons for real concern, but can often be missed by drivers because they don’t make it into the cabin or can only be noticed once the car is parked. If you’ve noticed any other issues with the brake, make sure to assess whether there’s a concerning smell alongside it, and immediately ask a mechanic to take a look as well.

Even if you aren’t noticing any of these signs from your car, brake servicing is recommended every six months. This will ensure that your mechanic catches any potential problems early and may prevent a costly brake repair later on. 

Your local brake service experts

The team at Highfields Mechanical are experts at all things brake servicing, and will make sure that your car is safe for you and your family, and that your brakes will look after you when you need them most. To book in for a brake service, or any of our car services, get in touch on (07) 4646 1780, or fill out our online contact form.