Hints and Tips

10 Ways Your Car Is Telling You It Needs a Brake Service

Your car is more than just a machine; it's a complex system of components working together to ensure your safety and comfort on the road. Among these components, your brakes play a critical role in keeping you and your passengers safe. However, like any part of your vehicle, your brakes require regular maintenance to function properly. But how do you know when it's time for a brake service? Your car might be trying to tell you more than you realise. Here are ten ways your car communicates the need for a brake service.

1. Squealing or Grinding Noises

One of the most common signs that your brakes need attention is unusual noises when you apply pressure to the brake pedal. A high-pitched squeal or grinding sound could indicate that your brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced. Ignoring these noises can lead to further damage to your brake system.

2. Vibrations While Braking

If you feel vibrations or pulsations in the brake pedal or steering wheel when you apply the brakes, it could be a sign of warped brake rotors. Warped rotors can reduce braking efficiency and increase stopping distances, compromising your safety on the road.

3. Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal

A brake pedal that feels soft or spongy when you press down on it could indicate air or moisture in the brake lines. This can reduce the effectiveness of your brakes and make it more difficult to come to a complete stop. A brake fluid flush and bleed may be necessary to resolve this issue.

4. Longer Stopping Distances

If you notice that it's taking longer for your car to come to a complete stop, it's a clear indication that your brakes are not functioning as they should. This could be due to worn brake pads, brake fluid leaks, or other brake system issues that require immediate attention.

5. Pulling to One Side

If your car pulls to one side when you brake, it could be a sign of uneven brake pad wear or a sticking brake caliper. Driving with uneven braking forces can cause premature wear on your tyres and compromise your ability to maintain control of your vehicle.

Find your local brake specialist

Use our location search to find your closest service centre

6. Dashboard Warning Lights

Modern vehicles are equipped with electronic sensors that monitor various systems, including the brake system. If your dashboard warning light illuminates with the brake symbol, it's essential to have your brakes inspected by a qualified technician as soon as possible.

7. Burning Smell

A burning smell coming from your wheels after driving could indicate overheating brake pads or a dragging brake caliper. Ignoring this smell could lead to brake failure and pose a significant safety risk.

8. Visible Brake Pad Wear

You can visually inspect your brake pads through the wheel. If the pads appear to be worn down to less than a quarter of an inch, it's time to have them replaced. Neglecting worn brake pads can lead to damage to other brake components and increase repair costs.

9. Fluid Leaks

Inspecting your vehicle for fluid leaks regularly is essential for identifying potential brake system issues. Brake fluid leaks can occur at the master cylinder, brake lines, or calipers and should be addressed promptly to prevent brake failure.

10. Age and Mileage

Finally, the age and mileage of your vehicle can also indicate the need for a brake service. Most manufacturers recommend having your brakes inspected every 12,000 to 15,000 kilometres or at least once a year, whichever comes first.


Your car communicates with you in various ways, and paying attention to its signals can help you stay ahead of potential problems, especially when it comes to your brakes. Ignoring these warning signs can compromise your safety and lead to costly repairs down the road. By being proactive about brake maintenance and listening to your car, you can ensure that your vehicle stops safely and reliably every time. Remember, when it comes to your brakes, safety always comes first.

Other Braking Articles

Use our location search to find your closest service centre

Find your local braking specialist

See a list of mechanics