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Don’t put off changing brake pads

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Out of sight, out of mind. Until you suddenly hear the squealing sound.

It’s your brake pads, and they’re crying out to be changed.

As with the other components of your car, maintenance is the key to having brakes that do their job, which is a pretty important one, considering that if they go out — and they can — you’re putting yourself, and your passengers, in real danger.

So when that squeaking sound beckons, take heed. It’s time to have your brake pads changed. There are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes, according to J.D. Power. The first is by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor, and there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If there’s less, have your mechanic install new pads.

The second way you’ll know your brake pads are near the end of their lives is that familiar squeal they will all of a sudden start making every time you apply your brakes. The source of the squeal is a metal shim, called an indicator, that’s telling you it’s time, advises J.D. Power.

Now, you could just ignore that screech, but if you do, your brake pads will eventually wear away completely and then your brakes will start digging into the rotors. You’ll know this has happened when the squealing is replaced by a grinding noise. Not only will it be harder to brake at this point, but you’ll be looking at spending more money at the repair shop because not only will you have to replace your pads, you’ve just messed up your rotors, which will either need to be “turned” or replaced entirely.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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