There is little you can do to properly inspect your brakes without disassembling them but there are a few things you can check on a regular basis.

Many new cars have open wheels. You can see the brakes when standing by the wheel. Most wheels have brake pads held on by a caliper. If you can see the brake pads, reach inside the wheel and feel the thickness of the pad. DO NOT TOUCH THE BRAKES if you just stopped the vehicle. They will be TOO HOT TO TOUCH.

Most brake pads have a metal rivet that holds the pad onto a metal backing plate. When the pad wears thin, the metal rivet comes into contact with the rotor and makes a scraping sound. We’ve all heard a vehicle with screechy brakes. That tell-tale sound means the brake pads need to be replaced ASAP. If you drive the vehicle for more than a few miles with worn brake pads, chances are you’ll end up gouging the rotors and need to replace them at a cost of several hundred dollars.

In the engine compartment, check the level of the brake fluid. Your vehicle owner’s manual should show the location of the brake fluid reservoir. Make sure the fluid is between the min and max or low and full marks.

There are several types of brake fluid available. If you need to fill your brake fluid, make sure you purchase the type designed for your specific vehicle.

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