Your brakes need to work EVERY time! Brake pads that are worn down evenly will still function, but waiting too long may increase the cost of your repair bill. Brake symptoms can include squealing, squeaking, or grinding when stopping or tuning; shaking in the steering wheel or the seat when you are braking; or an inconsistent brake pedal firmness. Any of these symptoms warrant an inspection to insure proper stopping ability. Even brakes without symptoms should be inspected at least annually to confirm condition.
Antilock braking systems, optional on some cars and standard equipment on others, prevents wheels from locking up when braking on slippery surfaces so you can still steer and maneuver while stopping quickly. Although some people have never activated the antilock brakes, those who have been in a hard stop situation will attest to their worth.