American culture has always been focused on the freedom provided by the open road, and car ownership is a vital part of that freedom. Owning a vehicle, however, comes with a great deal of responsibility. Chief among these responsibilities is the upkeep and maintenance necessary to keep your car operating smoothly on the open road.

Your brakes are perhaps the most important part of your car when it comes to safety, and keeping them in their best shape is absolutely vital. Below, you'll find a guide to some things you should look out for that will let you know when it's time to get your brakes worked on. With this information in mind, you can confidently know that your vehicle will always keep you safe.

Trust Your Ears

If you drive the same car day in and day out, you become finely attuned to the sounds it makes. When you notice changes in these sounds, it's important that you investigate thoroughly, as noisy wheels are often a sign that your brakes are in need of important repairs.

Modern disc brakes operate by pressurized fluid causing pads to grip a metal disc. When the pads begin to wear, the squeaks and squeals coming from your wheels will be noticeable. In fact, many modern brake pads are manufactured with thin layers inserted that are designed to make noise when exposed, providing you with sufficient warning.

Feel the Wheel

As with the sounds made by your car, your vehicle also will feel a distinct way. The smoothness of the ride and the vibrations you feel through the steering wheel can change drastically when your brakes begin to fail, as the build up of metal particles and shavings can cause the car to pull to one direction or another.

You'll also likely feel the changes in your brakes in the action of the pedals. If you find yourself having to apply additional force to acquire the same braking effect, you may have a leak in your line or a decrease in fluid that needs to be remedied in order to keep you safe.

Stick To A Schedule

The most important thing you can do to predict your car's maintenance is to make sure you're following the manufacturer's recommendations for a maintenance schedule. While it can be tempting to try to cut down on costs by cutting corners on your auto care, the truth is that this will result in you risking a total failure of important systems such as your brakes. These failures can be catastrophic, and no amount of cost savings is worth the added risk to human lives. Talk to your local auto experts, such as Wilson & Bell Transmission, for more information.