Your brakes are the most important safety feature on your vehicle. So it is important to make sure they are always in the best condition possible. They should also be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they can work properly when you will need to apply the brakes.
Also make sure to look for any warning signs. They can overheat just like any other part of a vehicle and fail just as easily. Over time though, the brakes do eventually wear down and they need to be replaced to ensure your safety. Knowing when the brakes need to be replaced is going to be important, not only for you, but for your passengers and others on the road.
Losing stopping power is the most common sign and reason to replace your brake pads. It happens gradually overtime but it is noticeable. When you first have new brake pads installed, you can barely press on the brake pedal and you almost come to a complete stop. This will eventually pass as the brakes are used more and more and you will be able to apply steady pressure to make a smoother stop. What needs to be a concern is when you press on the brake pedal, it feels soft and you may not stop as soon as you typically do. This is usually an indication that your brake pads need to be replaced. It could also mean that you have air in the brake lines which is a more concerning issue.
When you press on the brake pedal and your car has a vibrating feeling until you stop, this is a problem with your rotors. Brake rotors will eventually become uneven from alignment issues and temperature changes and this issue will cause your brakes to wear unevenly as well. The most common way to get this fixed is to have your rotors turned. This is least expensive option for having your rotors repaired. But there may be a time when the rotors need to be replaced all together due to rust pits forming in the rotor. A rust pit looks tiny on the surface, but as the rotor is being smoothed out, it gets bigger and there might not be much of a rotor left by the time the pit is gone.
When driving, make sure to be aware of any issue with the brake pedal. A braking system is a closed system so any air in the lines or leaks is a bad thing. If the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor, there could be a leak in the brake fluid line. The reason behind brake fluid is to engage or disengage your braking pistons. If you notice that the brake fluid is low often, or see a puddle under the vehicle, make sure to bring the vehicle in. This can help reduce the chance of an accident from occurring.