How to Inspect Brakes

Do it Yourself or Ask an Expert

You probably know that brakes are one of the most important parts on your car, and you’ve probably been told that they need to be replaced at some point. How can you know when your vehicle really needs new brakes? You can inspect them yourself! Use these tips from the pros at Valencia Auto Performance & Simply Smog in San Clarita, California to get started. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our team can also perform a fast brake inspection at our shop to ensure your car is safe to operate.

Visual Inspection

Visually inspecting the brakes for signs of wear is easier with the wheel removed. If you know how to do so safely, remove each wheel to get an unobstructed view of the main brake components on each wheel.


The first thing you want to look at are the brake pads. These are designed to wear out with use and will likely be the first part that needs to be replaced. They are the parts that squeeze the large, circular brake disc in the center. You have to peek between the calipers to see them. Check that they are still there and decide if they are thick enough for continued use. Brake pads should be at least 6.4 millimeters thick. If they show signs of uneven wear, that’s also cause for concern.


Next, inspect the brake discs — the big circular part in the middle of the wheel well. Make sure they are cool to the touch before proceeding, then run your hands over them to feel for rough spots, irregular grooves, and cracking. Look out for uneven wear at the edges with wavy wear patterns. These are signs that they need to be replaced. Brake discs typically have a longer lifespan than the pads, but it’s still a good idea to inspect them regularly for wear.


Finally, take a look at the brake calipers. These are the components that squeeze the disc, generating the friction that stops your vehicle. Look for signs of fluid leaking, cracking, or corrosion. Generally, these parts last even longer than the discs, but as always, it’s a good idea to inspect them regularly.

Ask the Experts

Not sure if you can carry out a brake inspection on your own? Our experts conduct a more thorough check in our shop, so it’s not a bad idea to have them complete one during your regularly scheduled visit. Stop by our shop in San Clarita, California for brake repair or inspection soon!

Written by Valencia Auto Performance

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