Summer is here and it’s the perfect time for that classic family road trip. Before you head out for your cross country family fest, consider having your brakes checked.  Kids fighting for endless miles is stressful enough, when you need them, it’s essential to have your brakes work properly.  How can you threaten to turn this car around if you’re having trouble stopping it? Your vehicle should stop when you hit the brake pedal. If you have brake problems, it’s vital that you resolve them immediately – it’s obviously extremely dangerous to drive with faulty brakes. These 6 warning signs will let you know what to look for:

Dashboard Brake Warning Lights

Dashboard brake warning lights are a clear indication of brake problems. Normally, if your brake warning light is lit, the brake fluid is low. You can add more brake fluid, but if a brake line leak is a fault this will only be a temporary solution. It certainly won’t last your entire road trip. The best solution is to have your brake lines checked by a certified mechanic or to  check them yourself. We can’t emphasize strongly enough that brake problems have to be addressed immediately.

Listen Up!

Hear that high pitch squeal when you press on the brake? That could be a sign of your brakes need some TLC. Brakes squeal when they need adjusting or the pads need replacing. Having been through a rainstorm or two, you’ve probably noticed that brakes squeak when they’re wet; however, if the noise persists your brakes need to be checked.

If you’re hearing a grinding noise, the problem is far more serious. Grinding indicates something metallic is rubbing against your brake rotor. This solution could be substantially more costly. In addition to the brake pads, you may need to replace your rotors. At this stage, your brake problems have become urgent. If you see flakes of metal around your wheel, the rotor is becoming worn and you need to replace it before it goes out completely.

Pulling

If you notice your car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, or your car shakes or shudders when you brake reasonably hard, it’s an indication that there’s excessive wear on the brakes and you will need to replace them.

Spongy Brake Pedal

If your brake pedal feels spongy or sluggish, the main cause is that air has found its way into your brake system and your brakes won’t respond properly. This can obviously cause an accident. Low brake fluid can also cause a spongy pedal, so check that first.

ABS Warning Light

You anti-lock brake system is designed to stop your car from swerving when you brake hard. The main indication you’ll have of brake problems with ABS will be the lights on the dashboard. This warning shows that the sensors on the wheels have detected too many metal particles. When this happens, the ABS system will usually shut down, but your brakes will still work. The only thing not working is the ABS system – but you’ll still need to have it fixed.

Regular Maintenance

You can catch most of these brake problems early by having regular maintenance performed on your vehicle. You can do this by checking fluid levels regularly and checking the pads and rotors visually. In most cases, the pads should be replaced every 30,000 miles, depending on driving conditions in your area. Rotors will usually last much longer.