Providing Automotive Repair Service and Maintenance Monday-Friday 7AM-5PM

Do I Need New Brakes?

Brakes are one of the most important elements of your car. Over time, this important component will wear down and become unsafe. But how do you know when it’s time to have them replaced? Unlike services that are largely odometer-driven, such as an oil change, the need for brake replacement can vary depending on different factors. Here are some telltale signs that you need to have your brakes replaced.

The Brake Pads are Less Than a Quarter-Inch Thick

One of the easiest ways to determine if you need to have your brakes replaced is by looking at them. You can find your brake pads between the wheel spokes. Brake pads should always be over a quarter-inch thick. If you notice that your brake pads are around a quarter-inch thick or less, it’s time to have them replaced soon. 

Unusual Noises

Another telltale sign that it’s time to have your brakes replaced is strange noises when you press on the brake pedal. Squeaky noises when you bring your car to a complete stop means that your brake pads have worn down so much that metal is scratching on metal. Additionally, if you hear grinding noises when you try to bring your car to a complete stop, it means that your brake pads have worn down to the point where the metal brake disc and metal caliper are rubbing against each other.

Slow Response

If you notice your brakes are slow to respond or the brake feels loose, there may be an issue with the vehicle’s brake line. Sometimes the slow responsiveness is due to a brake fluid leak or air in the brake line. You can check to see if there’s a leak by moving your car after it has been parked for a while and examining the ground. If you see fluid that is similar to motor oil but not as thick, it likely means that your brake fluid is leaking. Bring your vehicle to your local Maryland auto repair shop to have the problem fixed.


Your car should never vibrate when you step on the brake pedal. If it does, it can be a sign that the vehicle’s rotors have become warped and need to be replaced. You will be able to tell that there’s a problem with the rotors if you feel a pulsating sensation, similar to an abrupt stop where the anti-lock brake system becomes engaged. Warped rotors are dangerous, and you should bring your vehicle to an auto mechanic immediately to have them replaced. 

A Trusted Mechanic to Handle All Your Brake Problems

Thunderbird Automotive Specialists are here to help with all of your brake problems. Since 1976, we’ve been helping drivers in Phoenix, AZ, maintain their vehicles and keep them on the road longer. Give us a call at (866) 447-0803 or click here to schedule an appointment. 

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Thunderbird Automotive Specialists will be closed on Friday, October 20th.

During this time, our team will be attending the memorial service for our late General Manager, Brock Lohman.

We appreciate your understanding and support as we gather as a Thunderbird Automotive Specialist family to honor Brock’s life and legacy.

We will be back open to serve you on Monday, October 23rd. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.