If replacement is recommended you can insist on seeing the old pads or shoes to check the wear. Most brake pads have an indicator – usually a line on one side. The pads should be replaced when worn down to the line. Discs are trickier but there’s no need to replace them until they are worn to the manufacturer’s recommended minimum width, unless they are damaged in another way.

Here are some common symptoms of brake problems.

  • Unusual noise from the wheels when braking, such as squealing or grinding.
  • Grinding noise from the wheels when the brakes are not applied.
  • Juddering when braking.
  • Car pulling to one side when braking (though this can also indicate uneven tyrepressures).
  • Less effective stopping under heavy braking or on a long downhill stretch.
  • A change in the feel of the brake pedal, such as harder or spongier.

See also