Angie's List: Check your car's brakes

Published: .
Updated: .

Do your holiday travel plans include hitting the roads this season? If so, you better check if your car is ready for the trip.

Brakes are a necessary part of your car and it's a scary thought to think they wouldn't work when needed.

"You should probably have your brakes checked once ever six months, just as a precaution," said Angie Hicks, Angie's List.

Know how your car drives and feels. Vibrations or pulsations when you push down on the brake pedal is a warning sign for your car.

"Brake pads from different companies start off anywhere from $100 up to $200, $300. It depends on the make and model of the car. The newer cars are more expensive," said Fred Kuhn, Glendale Automotive.

Don't forget to listen to your car, as well. You're the most familiar with how the car is supposed to sound, so don't ignore any new or unusual sound.

"That grinding noise means, 'Uh oh, you've gone a little bit too long' and that usually requires replacing the brake rotors, also," said Kuhn.

If you hear a knocking sound, Kuhn says that's usually a problem with your rotor.

"The rotors, when they get out of round, the pedal will sometimes jump against your foot and sometimes the steering wheel will shake. It normally happens at higher speeds when you apply the brakes a little bit firmer and you'll feel a very bad vibration in your foot or your hand. That is usually the time to get the rotors replaced or resurfaced," he said.

For most cars, you're looking at around $70 per rotor.

Regardless of the car, brakes generally need to be replaced every 20,000-30,000 miles, but don't wait for the rotors.

If you have a road trip coming up, it's best to see a reputable mechanic at least two weeks before your trip.