Knowing how to check your brakes will help make sure that you have a braking system that is in good working order and ready to stop your car in an emergency. There are several obvious signs that something is wrong with the brakes.
If your brake pedal pulsates or the car vibrates during braking, one or more of your brake rotors may be warped. You can usually check for a warped rotor by jacking the car up and spinning each wheel by hand. The wheel should spin freely; if it seems to stick in spots, it could indicate rotors that should be turned or replaced.
If your brakes make a grinding noise, it could be that the brake pads are in need of replacement. If your brake light comes on or you notice that the fluid is low, it could also be an indication that your brake pads are wearing, or there could be a leak in the system. The manufacturer should be able to supply minimum rotor and pad (or drum and shoe) thicknesses for your vehicle. The brake fluid will slowly lower as the brake pads wear, but if the brake pads are still in good shape and the fluid is low, carefully check for leaks in the brake system.