Worn brake pads can adversely impact your ability to bring your car to a halt. This can be especially dangerous in an emergency situation when adequately working brakes are a must to help you stop your car promptly. There are some telltale signs of pending brake problems; do you know what they are? Awareness of a problem is the key to avoiding potential harmful consequences; let’s examine some well known warning signs.
Grinding of the brakes
While some of these problems may necessitate you replacing other brake components, an inspection of your brake pads should reveal that they are worn and are in need of immediate replacement.
Your next course of action depends on your expertise, your time, and on your wallet. Most garages offer a free brake inspection and this can be a wonderful opportunity to have someone else inspect your system to confirm your findings.
Ask your mechanic for a complete diagnosis of your brake system and an estimate on what parts and repairs will cost you. A good garage will give you a print out showing a fairly close estimate of what your costs will be. Throw in your local taxes and the price quoted should be within 95% of the final cost, barring an unforeseen additional problem being detected [for example, brake master cylinder failure].
If you feel reasonably confident that you can do the work yourself, you stand to save yourself plenty of money, at least in labor costs. You can save money with parts, too, by shopping around; the highest prices you pay will likely be through your dealer’s parts department. Prices at a national auto parts supply store should be lower, while prices through an online wholesaler should be about the lowest available as they purchase directly from the manufacturer.
If you decide to purchase online, only obtain parts from a reputable dealer selling parts from trusted manufacturers. Be careful of those sites selling generic parts from overseas merchants. Make sure that you can return what you purchase, if needed, to address in based in the U.S.
Copyright 2005 -- Matt Keegan is a contributing writer for the Auto Parts Warehouse, a wholesaler of fine automobile parts and accessories.
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