How to Know If Your Brakes Needs Replacing


We’ve all been there; you’re driving up to a red light and as you brake, you suddenly hear a deafening squeal come from your vehicle. Instantly you think that you need to get a brake job. However, does a squealing brake really mean you need to get your brakes looked at? Not necessarily.

Brake squealing can be caused by a number of different factors, many of which do not require new brakes, or your brakes being serviced at all. So, how do you know if your brakes need replacing then? We’ll explore that in this blog post.

What Does it Mean When Your Brakes Squeal?

So, if brake squealing doesn’t always mean that you need a brake job, then what does? First off, brake squealing CAN mean you need new brakes, but that’s an assessment for a professional mechanic to make.

Second, if you need new brakes, there are more than just brake pads that need replacing at times. You may need new rotors, calipers, pads, or even a brake fluid top up. Sometimes, your brake pads have little wear, but the wear is uneven due to a seized caliper. Again, this is why we suggest visiting a professional for a thorough assessment.

Third, things like a vehicle sitting for a long time in a moist environment can cause brake squealing. The same goes for driving in locations with high amounts of dust and debris. Both moisture and dirt can cause your brakes to squeal. Neither requires getting your brakes services.

Regardless, if you notice new brake noise including squealing, it’s a good idea to get it checked out promptly.

Why Does My Car Make Strange Noises When Braking?

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As mentioned before, brake noise can mean a whole host of different problems. What’s more important than just the noise you’re hearing are any symptoms of brake deficiencies that go along with it. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of brake system issues is the best way to quickly get your car diagnosed with a problem.

So, how do you know what the noise you’re hearing means anyways? Here’s a breakdown of sounds, signs, and symptoms of each potential brake issue that could be happening to your car.


As explained above, squealing could really mean virtually anything when it comes to brake squeal. The most common cause of brake squealing is moisture or dirt in your brake pads or rotors. However, if you notice vibration while braking, softer or squishy brakes, or find that you have to push harder on the brake pedal to slow your vehicle, then you might actually need to have your brakes serviced.

The squeal is caused by something called a “squealer”, which does exactly what it implies. The purpose of the squealer is to let you know when your brakes have worn down to where they need replacing. When dirt or moisture isn’t the culprit, excessive brake wear is.

Fortunately, if you are in need of all new brakes, and/or a complete brake job, More Cash For Scrap buys vehicles with major mechanical issues, including faulty or worn-down braking systems. If our friends at Midas Vancouver told you that you have a hefty bill coming to keep your car on the road safely, it might be a better idea to scrap it for cash instead, and get into something newer.


Brake grinding is something you can not only hear, but you can also usually feel. When your brakes grind, you know it. The sound is that of a low growl, that is typically also accompanied by vibration. This is because when brakes are grinding, they are usually rubbing metal on metal.

When you experience brake grinding, it’s because your brake pads are coming into contact with your rotors. This is usually caused by:

  • Worn-out brake pads
  • Wheel bearing issues
  • Warped, rusted, or otherwise damaged rotor
  • Low quality brake pads
  • Dirt or debris stuck in the caliper
  • Improper installation of brake pads or rotors

Brakes are an essential safety system on your vehicle. If you notice your steering wheel shaking, vibrating, or pulling to one side while braking, combined with a grinding noise, you should get your car into a mechanic A.S.A.P.


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For many of us, hissing isn’t a sound we associate with our braking system failing. However, while it doesn’t mean that your brake pads or rotors are in trouble, it does indicate that there could be a potential leak in your brake line.

Just like when you fill up an air mattress or pool floatie and hear that dreaded hissing sound, it means there’s a hole somewhere. Finding a hole in your braking system on your own is next to impossible, so make sure you have a proper mechanic do the dirty work for you. For those of us who spend 5 days a week traversing Downtown Vancouver rush hour traffic, we know that good brakes are a necessity.

If they tell you that you need a whole new brake line and your car is too old to make it worth fixing, you can scrap your car with More Cash For Scrap. We buy vehicles with ANY mechanical problems, including cars that need a complete, and very expensive, brake job.


If you notice a distinct scraping noise while braking or particularly while turning, it could mean that your brakes need replacing or servicing.

When your vehicle’s brakes make a scraping sound, it could mean that they need to be lubricated. It can also mean that there is a possible malfunction of one or more components in your vehicle’s brake system.

While you may not notice a difference in your stopping power, leaving this issue unchecked can result in something more catastrophic. Take your car to the mechanic for a checkup if you hear a scraping sound while braking or turning.


Does it sound like you’re shaking a can of spray paint when you brake? If so, you may be in need of a brake job. Particularly because a rattling noise can be caused by several different factors.

One thing that can cause rattling sounds from your brakes are loose brake clips. When you purchase new brake pads, they come with a set of clips to hold them in place. If you’ve just had your brakes replaced and notice rattling, you may need to get them adjusted.

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Another common cause of rattling brakes are loose caliper bolts. The calipers squeeze brakes together, and the bolts inside them hold them onto the braking system. If a rattling sound has present itself, get your brakes seen to immediately, as worn or seized calipers can cause a whole host of other problems.


When it comes to a vehicle, thumping of any kind isn’t a good sound. And when it’s because of your braking system, that’s worse.

When your vehicle’s brakes are creating a thumping sound, it usually comes from the rear end of the vehicle and is normally heard while braking. This is usually the result of a warped drum or brake rotor.

Along with the thumping, you’ll likely notice excessive vibration and awkward stopping ability. By this we mean that you will notice harsh or abrupt stopping, when you aren’t pushing hard enough to create this.

How Often Does Your Car Need New Brakes?

brakes need replacing

Every vehicle is different, because every driver drives differently. For those of us who make a solid effort to slow down a little sooner when approaching red lights, our brakes will need fewer changes. For others who drive a little faster and brake a little harder, they will require brake servicing at more regular intervals.

It also depends on the type of vehicle you’re driving. Vehicles that are larger require more stopping power. So, trucks, cargo vans, and 1-ton trucks often need their brakes changed more frequently as well. Maybe if you’re a delivery driver and you cross the Port Mann bridge multiple times a day doing deliveries.  Frequently stopping and going all they way to your destination in Burnaby or Coquitlam.

In addition to the size and weight of the vehicle, it also depends on whether you do more city driving, or highway driving. Naturally, city driving requires the use of brakes more, thus more brake replacements.

When Should You Replace Your Brake Pads?

A great question, even if you’re not planning on doing your brakes at home by yourself. Many people wait until the squealer starts indicating the need for new brake pads. However, if you are at all familiar with basic vehicle mechanics, you can check your own brake pad wear.

There are even YouTube videos that can help you to change your brakes yourself if you have a natural inclination for vehicle repairs.

Generally, brake pads should be changed when they get down to approximately ¼ inch of thickness. Once the pad gets down below this level, the wearing increases due to increased heat and pressure on a thinner pad.

What’s Does a Complete Brake Job Mean?

Typically, when a car needs brake work, it doesn’t involve replacing every component of the braking system. However, when a vehicle has gone a long time without routine brake maintenance or replacement, it could result in all the brakes and components needing to be switched out.

With a complete brake job on a car, you’re usually looking at having the brake pads, rotors, and possibly calipers replaced. Additionally, you may need brake fluid topped up or changed. If it is due for a change, your mechanic will likely check all other components that could be affected by having any air in your brakelines (which happens from time to time).

Things like the master cylinder, the ABS solenoid valves, and your calipers can be damaged by corrosion when air mixes with your brake fluid, as brake fluid actually absorbs moister from the air and affects your braking. This is why it’s best to use a professional when you need a completely brake job on your car.

Overhauling your vehicle’s braking system isn’t cheap. In fact, it can cost thousands of dollars depending on what needs replacing. Often times when a complete brake job is required, other nearby components will be on their way out too, if not already gone. Things like your tie-rods, sway bar, CV joints, etc, can all add up when combined with a brake job.

Can I Sell My Car if It Needs a Complete Brake Job?

Yes, you can! More Cash For Scrap buys vehicles in any condition, with ANY ailment; even much needed brake work.

We pay MORE cash for cars with mechanical issues than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. That’s why so many people choose to sell their car to us instead of scrapping it themselves at the local junkyard, or through an independent scrap car buyer.


We Pay MORE Cash for Cars with Mechanical Issues in Metro Vancouver

While we do see a lot of scrap cars come our way due to varying braking system issues, that’s not the only reason we pay MORE cash for scrap cars in the Lower Mainland.

We also buy cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans with collision damage, electrical problems, really high kilometres, cosmetic damage, mold, mildew, rust. We even buy junk cars without registration, without keys, and without wheels!

If your vehicle has seen better days, and you’ve been thinking about selling it for cash, talk to our scrap car buyers today. It’s quick, easy, and we always pay MORE cash for cars than the other guys!

Scrap Your Car Today for MORE Cash

All it takes is a simple call, text, or email to get the most cash for your scrap car. Provide our scrap car buying team with the make, model, year, and condition of your car. Then, let us know the pickup location, as we always provide free towing.

We’ll make you an instant cash offer right over the phone, even without seeing your car first. If you accept our offer, we’ll dispatch our tow truck to come collect your car that day, or on the day of your choosing.

Our tow truck driver will load your vehicle up onto our truck, then pay you cash in hand before leaving. It’s really that simple! Call us today if you want to sell your junk car for MORE cash than any other scrap car removal company will offer you!

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About the Author: scrapcar

Since 2005, we've specialized in turning our customer's scrap cars into quick cash. We buy vehicles in ANY condition and with ANY issues. We pay MORE cash for scrap cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. If you want MORE cash, same day free junk car towing, and a reliable scrap car buying service, you want More Cash For Scrap.