How to Tell If I Need New Brakes

May 8th, 2018 by

Car Mechanic repairing brakes

Few people pay attention to their braking system until something bad happens, but it’s important to learn how to stay ahead of any brake issues. If you’re curious about how to tell if you need new brakes, you’re already on the right track. Dying brake components give off clues, like high-pitched squeaks and sluggish performance, so you can catch minor issues before they develop into something more serious. From worn brake pads to worn brake rotors, the folks at the Tom Gill service department can help you become a more informed driver with our guide to brakes!


Even when your brakes are functioning perfectly, it’s worth a look from time to time to learn what is normal – and what is cause for concern. Look through the spaces of your wheel’s spokes to get a glimpse of the brake pads. The pad will be pressed against the rotor, and you can expect to see a quarter inch or more of pad on a well-maintained vehicle. What if your brakes are looking a little thin? It might be time to stop by the shop for replacement parts.


The telltale sign of worn brake pads is a shrill squeal when you hit the pedal. That’s because your vehicle has a built-in indicator, known as a shim, that causes a high-pitched noise when your brake pads get too thin. So if you hear a squeak, do you need to rush to the service department? Maybe, but no need to panic. Squeaks and squeals can also result from moisture. If you’ve recently washed the car or gotten caught in a downpour, you might be just fine.


Finally, your car’s performance may present the biggest warning signs of all. You know what’s normal and not, so don’t be afraid to schedule an inspection if something feels off. Here are a few of the more common symptoms of worn brake components.

  • Sluggish responsiveness or squishy brakes may mean an air or fluid leak.
  • If your car “pulls” to one side, you might have uneven wear in the brake lining.
  • Grinding or growing metallic sounds indicate extremely worn brake pads, and maybe even damaged rotors.
  • If your car vibrates when you hit the pedal, worn brake rotors are likely the culprit.

Solve Your Brake Issues Today

Schedule your service at Tom Gill in Florence, near Cincinnati and Covington, and restore your car to peak performance.

Posted in Service, Tips