3 Reasons to Check Your Brakes Before the Squealing Starts

Squealing brakes provide you with an important warning that it's time to replace your brake pads. Once you hear this noise, you'll need to schedule an appointment with a local brake shop as soon as you can to avoid causing damage to your braking. Unfortunately, waiting until you hear squealing can also sometimes be a costly mistake.

The wear indicators that produce this high-pitched noise serve as a "last warning" before your brake pads fall below minimum thickness. While this warning is valuable, you shouldn't rely on it as your only source of information about your brakes. Instead, consider these three reasons why you should schedule routine brake inspections—even if your pads aren't yet squealing.

1. Estimate Remaining Lifespan

If everything works as it should, you'll hear your brakes start squealing when they fall below the manufacturer's minimum recommended thickness. This amount can vary between brake pads, but it usually means you only have a few weeks to a few months left on your brake pads. In most cases, this uncertainty means the safest option is to schedule a replacement as soon as you hear your first squeak.

When you bring your vehicle in for a brake inspection, the technician will measure your pads to determine their remaining thickness. Although this won't tell you exactly how much time you have before replacement, it can provide a more detailed estimate. Instead of letting the expense blindside you, you can use this extra information to prepare for your next brake job.

2. Catch Quieter Problems

Squealing can inform you about pad thickness problems, but it can't alert you to many other braking issues. For example, weak or failing brake hoses won't produce any warning until you begin to notice a soft or spongy pedal feel. Likewise, problems with old or contaminated brake fluid are unlikely to cause any noticeable symptoms until they impact your car's braking performance.

A thorough inspection will reveal these issues before they put you in danger. Once you know about these problems, you can address them as your time and budget allow, instead of waiting for a costly and hazardous failure that will require immediate attention.

3. Extend Your Brake Life

The best way to extend the life of any part of your car is through routine and preventative maintenance. Brake inspections typically include some basic maintenance tasks, such as checking and lubricating caliper slide pins and adding brake lubricant to areas with metal-on-metal contact. These simple steps can keep your brakes running smoothly and potentially even increase their lifespan.

Replacing your brakes when they start to make noise is the bare minimum necessary to maintain their performance and ensure your vehicle remains safe to drive. Scheduling routine inspections allow you to go beyond the bare minimum, helping you to avoid costly unexpected braking failures that can lead to dangerous situations on the road. Go to websites run by auto services to learn more or make an appointment.