Before getting into your car there are probably a few checks that you do. Checking the tires to see that they are not visibly deflated and making sure the lights come on are common things that drivers will do. One of the things that you may not notice until you really need them is the health of the brake pads in your car.

Brake pads that are worn down can make a world of difference when you have to stop quickly. Well maintained brake pads can allow you to stop when you need to, whereas worn down brake pads could cause you to hit the car ahead of you.

So, how do you know when your brake pads or another part of the braking system need replacing? We’ve put together a list of 7 things to look out for that indicate you need new brake pads.

1. Screeching or other new sounds

When you apply the brake if you hear a high pitched sound this is a very strong indication that your brake pads are worn out and need to be replaced. The screech doesn’t always mean that the brake pads have completely failed. They are designed in such a way that they will make a noise when they need to be replaced, so if you hear screeching you need new brake pads soon.

2. They look worn or damaged

If it has been a while since you thought about your brake pads then you should consider making a visual inspection of the brake pads to see what condition they are in. If the pads are less than a quarter inch thick you need to have them inspected so that a professional can determine if the brake pads need to be replaced.

3. Vibrations through the brake pedal

When you apply the brakes if you notice a vibration or pulse coming through the pedal this means that there is something not quite right with the brake pads or the rotors. You will need to have a professional take a look at your brake pads to help identify the problem.

4. You don’t stop as quickly as you used to

If you notice that it takes longer for your car to come to a complete stop when you apply the brakes with the same force, it may be time for you to get new brake pads installed. There are a few things in the braking system that could be causing this and it is vital that you get to the bottom of it.

5. The breaks work too well

If your car lurches to a halt even with a very light touch on the brakes then you will certainly need to have your braking system looked at. This could mean that the brake pads have worn down unevenly or a number of other potential issues. Ideally, you need to make sure that you take care of this issue as soon as possible as this can be dangerous at high speeds.

6. You’re leaking

If you notice a puddle of liquid under the car, it may be that the brake system is leaking fluid. This will need to be remedied as soon as possible if you want to be able to drive safely.

7. Loss of control

When you apply the brakes and feel a pull to the left or tight this could be an indication that the brake pads are wearing down unevenly and need to be replaced. You may also need new brake fluid too.