Brake Inspection: How to Know When You May Need Brakes…..

What’s Wrong With My Brakes?

  • A high-pitched scraping or squealing noise that goes away when you step on the brake tells you that the brake pads could be worn.
  • A grinding, metal-against-metal sound when braking indicates that your brake pads or shoes may be completely worn away, and you are now damaging the rotors or drums.
  • If your brake pedal feels soft or mushy or gets harder and higher when you pump it, you might need your brakes “bled” (which gets air bubbles our of the brake lines), or you may have a leak in the system.
  • If the brake pedal slowly sinks to the floor when you step on it (or intermittently), you might be in need of a new brake master cylinder or other hydraulic service.
  • If your car pulls to one side when braking, you might have insufficient hydraulic pressure in one part of the brake system, or one brake caliper might be sticking. Front-end problems can also cause this symptom.
  • Smoking brakes, usually accompanied by a very bad smell, indicate a stuck brake caliper or wheel cylinder, or weak return springs on drum brakes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why should I get my brakes checked?
    Brakes are the most important safety feature on your vehicle. The brake components go through normal wear during the operation of the vehicle. It is important to ensure that proper maintenance is done for your brakes to ensure your safety and to avoid expensive repair later. Many of our customers are surprised when the inspection results in a free brake adjustment or a diagnosis of no repair needed. At Brake & Go, we work to earn your trust and business for a lifetime.
  • How often should I have my brakes checked?
    As preventive maintenance, you should have your brakes inspected every six months or every 6,000 miles. The life of your brakes will vary with how you use them.
  • I was told that I had to buy new rotors or drums because they couldn’t be turned again. What does this mean?
    At Brake & Go, we turn (resurface) rotors and drums on a lathe to create smoother braking. This can be done until they have been worn to the manufacturer’s minimum specifications. If they are worn beyond this point, there won’t be sufficient metal to absorb the heat generated by the friction of pads or shoes. At this time, the rotors and/or drums need to be replaced.
  • Why does the brake pedal feel harder or softer than normal?
    Master cylinder or power booster problems, or leaks in the system may be the cause. Bring in your vehicle for a free brake inspection to determine the cause.
  • Why is there a vibration / pulsation while applying the brakes?
    It may mean that the drums or rotors are warped or that there is excessive pressure on the front brakes.
  • What is “bleeding” or “flushing” of the brake system and when should this be done?
    Bleeding pushes air out of the brake system. This should be done anytime a component in the hydraulic brake system has been replaced. Flushing of the entire hydraulic system is recommended every 2 years or 24,000 miles. This procedure removes moisture (water), sludge, or other contaminants from your system and helps prolong the life of your brake components.
  • Is it necessary to add brake fluid?
    The hydraulic system is sealed. A loss of brake fluid may indicate a leak in the hydraulic system, master cylinder, or wear of the brake pads and/or shoes.
  • Is it necessary to use the hand brake or emergency brake when I park my car?
    This is always advisable when parking on an angled surface. Applying the parking/safety brake also allows your rear brakes to self-adjust to proper alignment.


This post was written by: Martin Hand


If you find this information helpful please consider a donation. These articles, questions and comments are very time consuming so even a small donation gives me motivation to keep educating automotive owners. Donations will allow us to continue open questioning/comments, automotive education and repair tutorials in the future as the business grows. All proceeds go to the expansion and maintenance Thank You

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About Martin Hand

ASE Certified L1 Advanced Mastertech. Martin Hand has over 15 years experience in Asian and European Import Auto Repair. Specializing in electrical diagnosis, engine performance, AT/MT transmission repair/rebuild. Martin is also pursuing a degree in Computers Science & Information Systems starting at Portland Community College while he plans to transfer to OIT. Certified in Java application level programming, experienced with other languages such as PHP, Ruby, JavaScript and Swift. Martin has future plans of automotive diagnostic software development.

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