Your brakes are very important. They ensure that you are able to stop safely and control your vehicle. Your brakes will give you lots of signs that they need to be replaced before they go out; you just need to make sure that you respond appropriately when your vehicle lets you know that your brakes need assistance.
One of the signs that a lot of people notice when their brakes are getting old is vibrations. When you push on your brakes, your vehicle should easily and slowly come to a stop. You should not feel your brakes pulse, nor should you feel your vehicle shake when you brake.
If you feel a lot of shaking and feedback in your wheel when you stop, that is a sign that your rotors are getting worn down and that your brake pads are getting thin. Your brakes are essentially jumping when you are trying to stop instead of connecting smoothly with the rotor. This can be dangerous over time, so if your vehicle is shaking when you're braking, you need to replace your brakes.
When you put on your brakes, you should not hear any extra noise from your vehicle. If you are hearing a loud squeaking or scraping noise when you use your brakes, that is because your brake pads are getting worn down. When your brake pads are worn down, the metal layer under the brakes is exposed, making that horrible sound that you hear.
If your ears hurt when you press on your brakes, you need to get your brakes changed as soon as possible. You could also get a noise pollution ticket if your brakes are really loud and a police officer notices. Loud brakes are not safe for your car and are not fair to other drivers, homes, and businesses that you drive past.
Another sign that your brakes need services is pulling. When your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, it is either because there is a foreign substance in your brake fluid or because your brake pads on each side of your vehicle are not wearing down at an even rate. You either need to flush the brake fluid in your vehicle or you need to replace your pads and have them properly aligned to wear correctly.
If your brakes start to pull when you use them, make loud noises, and cause your vehicle to vibrate when you try to stop, listen to your vehicle and get it in and get serviced or a brake replacement. It is vitally important that your vehicle be able to stop properly so you can control your vehicle on the road.