When you’re driving your vehicle, you probably don’t think about how well your brakes are functioning until there is a noticeable problem – and even then, you may be tempted to ignore it for a while. But brakes are a normal wear-and-tear item on all vehicles and need to be changed periodically, just like your oil and tires. Driving around with poorly performing brakes can not only cause damage to components in your braking system, it can also pose a serious safety hazard.

In order to help encourage people to have their brakes inspected at least once per year, the American Car Care Council has designated August as Brake Safety Awareness Month. In recognition of this, we’ve put together this list of seven signs that it’s time to have your brakes inspected, so that you can be more aware of potential brake issues before they become serious.

7 Signs It’s Time to Inspect Your Brakes

  • Strange Noises

One of the first signs that your brakes are wearing out is a squealing noise when you use them. That’s because brake pads contain a component called an indicator, which is a small piece of metal buried within the brake pad. When the pad becomes thin this indicator will rub against your rotors, producing a squeaking or squealing noise to let you know that they need to be changed.

When pads become so thin that the indicator is gone, they will instead begin to make a loud grinding noise when you depress the pedal. This is because the metal the brake pads were mounted to is now rubbing against your rotors. This can cause serious damage to the rotors over time, and should be addressed as soon as possible.

  • Pulling

If your vehicle pulls to one side when you use your brakes, this is a sign that there is a problem with your braking system. From warped rotors to a brake fluid leak, there are a few different problems that can cause this issue, and it is best to have your participating neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® take a look to diagnose the issue.

  • Low/Soft Pedal

If your brake pedal feels soft, or is lower than usual, this can be a sign of low or contaminated brake fluid. Fixing this issue is as simple as having your brake fluid flushed and replaced with new, clean fluid.

  • Hard Pedal

A hard brake pedal can be a sign of an issue with your brake fluid lines. These lines rely on vacuum pressure to transfer the fluid through the braking system, and if that vacuum is compromised, it can lead to a hard pedal. Your Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® technician can test your braking system for vacuum leaks in order to pinpoint the problem.

  • Vibration

If you feel a vibration when you use your brakes, it is likely because your rotors, the rotating disc that the brake pads are pressed against, are warped. This can be from a number of different issues, which can be diagnosed by an inspection at your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube®.

  • Brake Light On

Perhaps the most obvious indication that something is amiss with your braking system is if your brake light comes on. Most often, this light means that either your brake fluid is low or your brake pads are worn, though it may also turn on due to other issues. Our technicians can figure out why the brake light is on, and how best to repair the problem.

  • Grabbing/Sensitive Break

If your brakes feel like they’re grabbing or are overly sensitive, this can be another cause of concern while driving. These issues can be caused by a few different things, from dirty or loose brake pads to misaligned calipers. A brake inspection at your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® can find what is causing this issue.

To help promote Brake Safety Awareness Month, we are offering a free brake inspection with the purchase of a Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change throughout the month of August. Our highly trained technicians will inspect your brakes for uneven or excessive wear, and let you know if it is time to have them changed. Stop by your neighborhood location for your free inspection today!

Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.

Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.