Are you getting a strange V.I.B.E. from your car? It might be coming from the rotors, which are what your brake pads grip in order to stop your car. When it comes to your vehicle, a vibe is more than a feeling. It could represent four signs that it’s time to replace your brake rotors.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
If you feel pulsing in the brake pedal and vibration in the steering wheel when you slow down, your rotors could be signaling trouble. When you step on the brake and the brake pads press down on the rotors, the rotors become extremely hot. Naturally, this heat can cause the rotors to become worn, warped, and uneven over time. Since your brake pads will be pressing onto a surface that isn’t smooth, your braking and steering won’t feel smooth either. The result? A vibrating steering wheel.
If you ask us, intermittent screeching when you brake is worse than nails on a chalkboard. This screeching happens when the braking system engages with rotors that have developed grooves over time. It’s the same principle behind the sound a needle makes when placed in the grooves of a vinyl record, and it's the closest you’ll come to an answer from your car if you ask, “Do I need new rotors?”
You might get the blues every now and then, but when we're talking about your brake rotors, we mean something totally different! If your rotors display a blue coloration, excessive heat—not sadness—is the likely culprit.
To check for blue rotors, squat down next to one of your wheels and look behind your wheel spokes. See a disc-like object? That’s a rotor! If things look blue, it's time for a brake inspection, at a minimum. The same heat that caused such coloration may have also compromised your braking system.
Keeping your brakes engaged as you drive, which some people refer to as “riding the brakes,” can cause this issue. Drivers who live in mountainous areas with steep slopes often find themselves “riding the brakes” on a daily basis.
Excessive Wear Over Time
Like most pieces and parts in your car, brake rotors wear out over time. If you have a hunch that you’re dealing with bad rotors, inspect your rotors for grooves or scoring (which can cause the screeching we mentioned earlier). Also, check your service records and think back to the last time you had your brake rotors inspected and replaced. Brake rotors generally need replacing every 15,000 to 70,000 miles, but the exact number depends on your driving style, brake pads, and vehicle.
Does this help explain the strange V.I.B.E you're getting from your car? If so, it's time for a free brake inspection at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. During your brake check, we'll determine if your vehicle needs any further brake service or repair and if so, talk to you about next steps.