Just like you need to get a physical health check up every now and then, it is important for your car to get a check up once in a while too. For example, you should check and/or change your brake pads at least once every year. Actually, the recommendation is at something between 12,000 and 24,000 miles (so replace at least once every two years).
That said, there are other symptoms that might indicate you should change your brake pads, even if it seems premature.
A SQUEALING SOUND
Of all the things that could indicate you need to change your brake pads, this is the most apparent; and it is designed that way. If you hear your car squealing as you screech to a hat when you brake at a stop sign, it is quite likely that your brake pads have worn down and need replacing. That “squeal” is actually the brake pad sensor that is built into the brake pad and whose sole job is make it very obvious that you should investigate.
If you ignore this squealing sound for too long you will hear another sound. This sound is a lot less pleasant—a grinding—and it is an indication that your brake pads are completely worn and you now risk damaging your brakes. This is far more complicated and expensive to replace so heed the squealing warning of the brake sensor.
AN UNWANTED PULL
If you feel your car pulling to one side, that could also be a signal that you have brake distress. Now, this could also be caused by a simple tire inflation issue or a more complex alignment issue but if your car pulls to one side you should have that investigated. It could mean a collapsed brake hose that causes a malfunction in the caliper. It could also mean the Crossdrilledrotors.ca disc brake calipers are stuck and just need a slight adjustment.
A VIBRATION IN THE PEDAL
A little vibration and resistance in the brake pedal is normal. If you feel strong or abnormal vibration, however, this could be another signal of brake distress. Often, a vibrating pedal means you have worn the rotor (and quite a big repair).
A SENSITIVE PEDAL
In addition to vibration, the brake pedal can feel soft or mushy (low response). If you feel this when you brake it probably means you should [safely] rush to a shop for a repair. It could mean worn pads or a hydraulic leak or uneven rotor wear.