*Screeeeeccch* That’s never a sound you want to hear coming from your vehicle.

There are lots of things that could go wrong with your car to compromise your safety, but failing brakes are among the most dangerous.

We typically notice our brakes when we need them most: Stopping suddenly because a deer ran out in the road or the car in front of us halted out of the blue. But you use your brakes all the time — they help you keep control of your vehicle, and you don’t want to discover they aren’t working when you’re barrelling downhill at 50 mph.

So how do you know you need new brakes before you’re slamming on the pedal? Here are six things to look out for:

  1. Screeching A high-pitched screeching sound is usually an indicator that something is amiss. This is your car telling you your brake pads need to be replaced.
  2. Leaking — Do you see a small puddle of something pooled under your car? This could be brake fluid. Without brake fluid, your brakes will not work, so take that leak seriously.
  3. Grinding — This is the sound of metal on metal, and it’s not good. Your brake pads, at this point, are likely beyond repair, and you may need to rotate your rotors or replace them entirely.
  4. Pulsating — If you hit the brake and your entire car pulsates — or feels like someone’s taken a jackhammer to your tires — this could be a sign of warped rotors that need to be replaced, among other concerning issues.
  5. Dashboard Warning Lights — These lights are installed for a reason: To warn you if something’s wrong with your brakes. With the brake light, not only will your vehicle fail MA State Vehicle Inspection, but this could be a sign of a fluid leak. Even if you haven’t noticed any unusual fluid leaking from your vehicle, it’s in your best interest to find out what’s triggering the warning light. What about the ABS light? If it comes up on its own, it’s not an issue with brake failure, but could be another problem with your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system. In some cars it will come on in conjunction with the brake light. In that case you should make a trip to Cape Auto to get it diagnosed.
  6. It’s Been Awhile — You should consider getting your brakes and brake pads examined if it’s been a long time since you’ve done so (or if you never have!). Brakes need to be replaced at different times depending on a number of factors — age of vehicle, how you drive, where you drive, etc. — and if you know you’re hard on your vehicle, it’s best to go in right away. If your brake pads are worn to under ¼ inch wide, they should be replaced.

Your front brakes almost always need to be replaced before the rear ones. Think about it: When you brake your whole vehicle lurches forward, putting extra strain on those front brakes. Have a front-wheel-drive car? Definitely ask an expert to check on those front brake pads.

So what are you waiting for? Stop into Cape Auto today for a brake check up, and receive up to $50 back on NAPA brakes and brake service from April 1 – June 30, 2018! Click here to download your coupon.