Whenever you get behind the wheel of your family car, you rely on a number of different systems in order to keep you and your occupants as safe as possible. At the top of the list is undoubtedly the braking system as, after all, it doesn't bear thinking about the consequences should this system fail entirely. The good news is that a typical braking system is very hardy and will almost always give you an early warning, should something be amiss. If you sense that something is up but are not sure, you should learn some more about these early warning symptoms. So what do you need to know?
You may be able to determine your next course of action simply due to the 'feel' of the brake pedal. After all, you will be used to a certain sensation whenever you depress the pedal with the ball of your foot but on this occasion, you can feel a pulsing rhythm instead. Usually, this is caused by brake pads that are wearing inconsistently and are not engaging with the brake discs as smoothly as they should. This will lead to vibration and the pulsing sensation beneath your foot.
On the other hand, the brake pedal may feel fine, but the vehicle is tending to pull to one side whenever you try to decelerate. Strangely enough, this could also be due to brake pad wear and, specifically, uneven wear on one side of the vehicle. In other words, the brake pads on one side are more efficient than the other, and this will tend to pull the steering away from the straight line.
Both of the aforementioned cases are due to brake pads that have worn down inconsistently. Sometimes, the pads will still wear down without pulling or pulsing, but in this case, the manufacturer has built in an additional early warning device. If you can hear a rattling or clicking noise when you press the brakes, this shows that the pads are worn down to such an extent that you will need to replace them immediately. This sound is caused by metal touching metal, as a part of the brake pad lining is touching the brake disc.
So, if you've noticed pulsing, pulling or clicking, then you should get on the phone to a local professional vehicle service as soon as possible. They will be able to carry out a full investigation and ensure that your vehicle is once again safe for the road.