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Q: Other than regular checkups at the shop, are there signs that my tires or brakes need to be serviced and/or replaced?

Michael says....
The key for brakes is to listen and feel for anything out of the ordinary. Pay close attention to any noise, pulsation or “sinking” in the pedal that’s unusual for your car. Fluid underneath the car may also point to a potential problem because it could be leaking from the brake master cylinder. Tires are more difficult, if not impossible, to judge by feel until you start sliding in the rain or snow—by which point it could be too late. Tire pressure can be checked using your own gauge and comparing it to the guidelines on the sticker inside of the driver’s door or in the manual. When you’re checking tire depth, which you should do once a month, you could try placing a quarter into the tread of each of your tires; if you can see the top of the queen’s crown, your tires are approaching baldness, meaning they won’t have the depth needed to navigate safely through rain, slush and snow.

Michael Bettencourt test drives more than 100 new vehicles a year and is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. Email him with your car questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it