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AAA World Article

The Brakedown

Five Signs That Your Brakes May Need Repair

AAA World Article

Know the warning signs that indicate it may be time for brake repair service. In each of the following five cases, AAA recommends taking the vehicle to a qualified auto repair shop for inspection and service. A professional inspection will help determine the extent of the needed repair, from brake pad installation to brake replacement.

  1. You apply the brakes and hear a high-pitched or grinding noise, indicating that the brakes have worn thin.
  2. You apply the brakes and feel a vibration, signaling warped brake rotors. A professional inspection can help determine whether they should be resurfaced or replaced.
  3.  The brake pedal feels different—either low or spongy—and takes more effort to apply. This situation means there’s a potential problem with the brake system that should be diagnosed promptly.
  4. You apply the parking brake, either by foot or by hand, but do not feel resistance. This problem may require an adjustment or a full repair. (Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, AAA recommends always applying the parking brake before exiting the vehicle.)
  5.  The dashboard indicator for the antilock braking system (ABS) is illuminated (usually yellow), meaning that the ABS is not engaged. The ABS prevents the wheels from locking up so that you can maintain control of the vehicle during hard stops.

To learn more tips or about other solutions AAA provides motorists and their vehicles, visit

The content contained in this article if for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any professional guidance. AAA does not guarantee any particular outcome.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 edition of AAA World.

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