When you go out to your car ahead of a journey the majority of people will only think about whether or not their car starts, not their brake pads and discs or other safety features. Some makes and models are more unreliable than others, especially the older vehicles in the winter, so it’s only natural to release a sigh of relief every time the engine sparks into life.
However, just as vital as the engine starting is the ability to bring your car to a safe stop or to reduce your speed when you need to.
The brakes are every bit as important as the engine and the power that it produces, helping you to avoid accidents and to react to the various hazards that may occur throughout the journey.
A lot of people with a passion for working on their cars and modifying them to get the ultimate performance will even look to find performance brakes that are designed to make the car stop much more quickly than the standard pads and discs, (if that’s your kind of thing then you can check out the range of performance brakes in our online store).
Over time the various components of the braking system, including the brake pads and discs, will start to show signs of wear or even damage if the car has been in some kind of accident or a minor bump.
When your car start to behave unusually – perhaps you get a strange feeling through the brake pedal or it takes longer than you would expect to reduce your speed or to come to a stop – it could be down to the brakes.
At this point in time it’s worth contacting a mechanic, or if you know what you’re looking for, taking a look yourself at the brake system because you are now putting your own safety and that of any of your passengers and other road users at risk.
There are a lot of different warnings signs to look out for including noises and various lights on the dashboard, something that your car owner’s manual will help you to understand, and whatever the problem turns out to be Euro Car Parts will be able to help. We stock a wide range of different brake parts, accessories and fluids for all makes and models of cars at a competitive price.
To help you out if you don’t know the various warning signs relating to your brake pads and discs, or if you need some advice on what to look out for and the various parts that could resolve the issue, we’ve created this guide so that you can keep your brakes in the best possible condition:
The Brake Pad Warning Signs
Of course, the most obvious sign that your brakes are faulty or damaged is a light on your dashboard. As we’ve already mentioned, your handbook is a valuable resource if the light comes on and you’re a long way from the Internet.
One of the most common indicators that there is a problem with your brakes is if you start to hear a screeching sound when you push the brake pedal. The noises could be due to a range of factors, including damaged brake pads which squeeze onto the discs when you push the brakes to help to slow the momentum.
If the pads are damaged then it will reduce how effective they are, causing a grinding or screeching sound as they come into contact with the brake discs.
The discs are connected to the wheel or axel, and work to reduce the momentum of the wheels when the pads squeeze against them. They then work in partnership with the calipers.
Diagnosing Brake Problems
- Brake pads
The brake pads, as we have already mentioned, squeeze onto the brake discs when you push the brake pedal to help you to slow the car down and bring it to a safe stop.
However, when your pads are starting to wear or if they are damaged you might start to notice a pulsing through the pedal or a clicking sound coming from the affected area.
Whenever you start to notice these feelings or sounds it’s time to replace the brake pads, before the affected areas cause any further expensive damage to the braking system – and before they cause a terrible accident.
- Brake discs
Over time the brake discs will start to wear, for various reasons. In the majority of cases the front brakes wear out through general usage, while the rear brakes tend to wear out more frequently because of corrosion.
As the damage or wear gets worse, it can cause pitting in the discs. There is a legal limit relating to the thickness of brake discs and the amount of pitting that is deemed to be safe.
A lot of worn or damaged brake systems proving to be the cause of failed MOTs. When the discs need to be replaced, it is best practice to replace the brake pads as well so that you get the maximum out of your brake system.
Immediately after changing any part of your brake system, performance is likely to be reduced in the early stages, usually around the first 50 miles, while the components ‘bed in.’
Maintaining and Changing Your Brake Pads and Discs
There are a number of relatively simple checks that you can do to keep your brakes in top working order, starting by ensuring that the brake fluid reservoir is sufficiently topped up with the correct fluid for your make and model.
Your owner’s manual will tell you the best fluids and lubricants for your car, ensuring that you only put in the right fluid. Your reservoir will have ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’ markings on it, so ensure that you have the right amount to keep the brakes well lubricated for optimum performance.
You can also check on the health of your brake pads and discs by removing the wheel itself. It may sound like a labour-intensive job just to see what condition your brake components are in, but it will keep you and other road users safe or you can order your new brake parts if necessary.
With the brake discs you would notice uneven wear, rusting or scoring which may result in problems or a drop in performance; while the pads will need checking for signs of the metal coming through, in which case they will need to be changed.
If you need any advice on how to change your brake pads and discs, or to make sure that you buy the right components for your car, speak to one of our experts who will be happy to advise you.
Euro Car Parts are the UK’s number one supplier of car parts and accessories with more than 190 branches nationwide and free shipping available, meaning you can have your new brake pads and discs delivered straight to your door.