Know the Warning Signs: When Is it Time for New Brake Pads?

Hand holding a brake pad in front of a car wheel

There are certain inevitabilities that come with vehicle ownership. At some point in the life of your vehicle, you will have to replace the tires. Rubber can only meet the road for so many miles before it wears down and becomes unsafe for future travels. The battery in a vehicle needs to be replaced every few years, and while some drivers keep up with this simple maintenance requirement, others are harshly reminded when their car won’t start before a morning shift. One of the most common maintenance necessities on any vehicle, is brake repair. Albany, NY auto shops exist on just about every corner, but DePaula Chevrolet is the only service center that can help you recognize when your brakes are on their way out, before it’s too late.


One of the Most Important Components on a Vehicle

It is true that without an engine, your vehicle will never move from the spot where it currently sits. The engine might be the most important component on any vehicle, because it is what makes a car move. The engine gets you going from Point A, but what happens when you finally arrive at Point B, and at all of the red lights and stop signs that exist in between? Arguably just as important as the engine, are the brakes that your vehicle utilizes to slow down, turn, and eventually stop. After all, an engine is only as good as the brakes that can stop it – right?

The all-important braking system is a part of every vehicle currently on the road, and there are ways to help ensure that this system remains in the best possible shape for optimum performance. Before a braking system fails, certain warning signs are often present, but can go unnoticed by drivers who aren’t sure what to look for. Here at DePaula Chevrolet, we strive to provide our customers with information that is vital to understanding their vehicle, and recognizing when important systems need to be addressed.


Determining Brake Maintenance Needs

Even if your vehicle is equipped with the most advanced safety features available, they mean nothing without proper functioning brakes. Despite the fact that brakes are the most important tool in your safety arsenal, most drivers overlook simple warning signs and maintenance that your vehicle needs. If your daily commute takes place in an area with heavy traffic, frequent stop lights or stop signs, then your braking system will need to be monitored more closely than a driver who spends most of their time commuting on an open highway.


On average, brake pads need to be replaced every 50,000 miles, while others need to be serviced closer to 25,000 miles. While it would make things easier, there is no magic number that exists for replacing brakes on a vehicle. Different car models, driving habits, and environmental factors all play a role in determining how often brakes need to be replaced.


Warning Signs: Recognize Before Your Braking System Fails

Here at the DePaula Chevrolet service center, we want to equip you with imperative information to help you determine when it’s time to have your braking system checked. With our hassle free appointments and multi-vehicle inspections, our technicians are trained to recognize when your vehicle needs service before it’s too late. It is important to understand the normal functioning of your vehicle, and not to ignore potential warning signs. Check out some of the most common warning signs your car may be sending you when it is time for new brakes.


  • Vibration in the Brake Pad: If you drive your car often, you know right away when something isn’t right. If you press down on the brake pedal and feel shaking, vibration, or anything out of the ordinary, it is something that will need to be addressed. This pulsating in your brake pedal occurs when the brake pads are worn down, or warped by extreme heat. More than likely, the brake pads on your vehicle will need to be replaced. While it is not an emergency situation, this maintenance should be completed sooner, rather than later.
  • Clicking Noises: As a general rule of thumb, if your vehicle begins to make noises that you have not heard before – get it checked. A clicking noise when the brake pedal is applied signals a problem with the brake pads.
  • Thinning Brake Pads: Becoming familiar with the appearance of your brake pads can be one of the easiest ways to ensure your braking system is working properly. The exterior brake pad is visible through the spokes on your vehicle’s wheel, pressed up on the metal rotor disc brake. The exterior brake pad should be more than ¼ inch visible at any given time. If the pad is not at least ¼ inch thick, you should have it checked by the experienced technicians at DePaula Chevrolet. When in doubt – get it checked!
  • Pulling of the Car: Driving a vehicle that pulls to one side or another can indicate that brake pads need to be replaced. This symptom can also mean alignment issues or uneven tire pressure, all of which still need the attention of a service center.
  • Screeching or Grinding: As far as vehicle health goes, any new noise, is usually bad. If your vehicle starts to screech or grind when the brakes are applied, it is likely that your braking system needs to be replaced. Oftentimes, this sound goes unnoticed with the windows up and music playing. When your car hits the 30,000 mile mark, spend a few minutes once a week with the radio off. Apply the brakes and listen carefully for any unfamiliar noise.


Maintain Your Brake Pads to Avoid Costly Repairs

The pads of the braking system are often the least expensive and easiest component to fix. If you heed the five warning signs outlined above, you should be able to prolong the life of your brake discs and the overall braking system on your vehicle. Ignoring these signs can mean a costly repair, and can even put yourself in jeopardy on the road.

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When in doubt, bring your vehicle to DePaula Chevrolet’s service center, where our qualified technicians can help diagnose and treat any issues that arise.