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A mechanic holds a new car brake pad against an old, used one.

6 Alarming Signs that You May Need New Brakes

Without properly working brakes, you may not be able to stop your car, causing you to run through a red light, hit a guardrail, or, worse, hit another vehicle. Not only could your car be destroyed, but you and others could face lasting injuries. Don’t let this happen to you! Instead, recognize these six essential signs that it’s time for new brake pads, rotors, or both.

And when it’s time to replace your brakes, turn to the auto repair shop with more than 50 years of experience—Dutch Valley Auto Works! We know that brakes are one of your car’s most important safety features, and you need a reliable shop to repair or replace your brakes in Lancaster, PA. Our team is well-versed in all aspects of your vehicle’s brakes, so schedule your service today to keep your car running smoothly and safely.

1. Your Brakes Are Noisy

Have you noticed any strange sounds coming from your brakes when you try to slow down? An odd noise, such as squeaking, grinding, or screeching, is often the first sign that you may need to call us for new brakes in Lancaster, PA. The different sounds can mean various issues, so it’s essential to identify the noise accurately.

For example, a squeaking sound when braking is often caused by worn brake pads. Worn brake pads don’t grip the rotor properly, causing them to produce a loud and unpleasant noise when the car slows down.

You may also hear grinding. This sound is usually more serious than squeaking, indicating that your rotors are worn out too. Rotors are typically more expensive to replace than brake pads and require you to contact an auto repair professional immediately.

Squealing is also a common sound. This noise may indicate that your brake pad wear indicator has thinned. This small piece of metal vibrates against the rotor when friction has worn down the brake pads too much. It typically means you have 1/16 of an inch of brake pad left. Any amount lower than this on your brake pad will result in a failed state safety inspection.

It’s important to note that sometimes brakes can squeak or squeal because they are coated in moisture from bad weather conditions, light rust, dirt, or grime. If your car has been sitting for overnight or longer, you may hear these noises the first few times you try to brake. They should clear up shortly after that if moisture is the problem.

2. Your Outer Brake Pad Is Worn Down

A close-up of a rusty brake disc through the spokes of a wheel.

One of the easiest signs to identify that you need new brakes in Lancaster, PA, is seeing that the outer brake pad has worn down. Look through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad is pressed against a metal rotor. There should be at least ¼ inch of pad. If it’s visibly thin or worn down beyond ¼ inch, it could indicate that it’s time for brake repairs.

Another indicator of needing brake replacement is when you can see deep grooves in the disc rotor which may indicate that the pads are nearly gone. You may also notice rust on your disc rotors, which can happen after long periods of poor braking performance.

3. The Brake Pedal Isn’t Responding as Quickly

Have you ever been in a situation where your brake pedal suddenly feels slower than usual? When this happens, the brakes have worn down or you could be leaking brake fluid. That lack of responsiveness is a sign that it’s time for some maintenance on your car’s brake system.

When your brakes are not working correctly, it can cause a slow-responding or “spongy” brake pedal. If brakes are not properly installed and moisture is present, water can cause rust and further erode the components which can lead to excessive brake wear. This will create a lack of braking power and response time. It could also be due to a brake fluid leak somewhere in the system. All of which may lead to a inability to stop when needed.

If you’re experiencing a slow brake pedal while driving in Lancaster, PA, you should immediately take your car in for brake service.

4. The Brake Light Is Illuminated

A close-up of a brake light on a dashboard.

When the brake system begins to wear down, you may see the brake light (or the ABS light if you have an anti-lock brake system) illuminated on the dashboard. Dashboard lights can appear for various reasons and should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure proper safety while driving.

If you see this warning light while driving in Lancaster, PA, it’s time to take your vehicle to our certified mechanics for inspection. We will be able to identify the root cause, diagnose any further issues, and ensure that your brakes are functioning properly before sending you back onto the roads.

5. Your Car Pulls to One Side as You Brake

Have you ever experienced your car pulling to one side when you brake? If so, this is a sign that something is wrong with your brakes and must be checked immediately.

When brakes pads do not wear down evenly, the car will begin to pull in one direction due to an imbalance between the two sides of the braking system. This can cause other issues, such as poor steering control and uneven tire wear, if left unchecked.

Your car veering to one side as you brake may also indicate that one of your brake calipers has gotten stuck within the braking system causing excessive wear on one side. That’s why you must call us immediately if this sign is happening to you. We can help resolve the problem so your car no longer veers to the side.

6. Your Car Vibrates as It Stops

When the brake system starts to wear down, the brakes may begin to vibrate as they slow the vehicle due to an imbalance between the rotors and calipers. Warped or thinned rotors from heat and friction usually cause this imbalance. This vibration can also cause other issues, such as increased stopping time or difficulty controlling the car while braking.

If you’re feeling this type of vibration while driving in Lancaster, PA, then it’s time to have your brakes serviced immediately. A qualified mechanic will be able to identify worn parts and advise on what needs to be done to ensure proper safety while driving.

Is It Time for New Brakes in Lancaster, PA? Schedule Service Today!

If you’re a car owner in Lancaster, PA, then you must pay attention to the signs and symptoms of worn brakes. From uneven tire wear and pulling to one side when braking to vibration as the vehicle slows down, all these indicate that your brakes need service immediately.

By checking your brakes regularly, you know they will be in good working order and provide good stopping power when needed. Don’t take any chances. Call us today and let our team of licensed mechanics inspect your brakes in Lancaster, PA, and get them back in tip-top shape.


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