Ok, I bought my car at 10,800 miles...now its about 14,850 miles and I'm starting to hear the brakes squeal a little now for the first time...when should I change my brakes? Considering the milage bought and used... Any input would be nice.. =)
Brake squeal can be caused by 2 things:
1) Dirt or grime between the brake pad and rotor
2) Squealer bar on pads is touching rotor.
If #1, get some brake cleaner and spray all your pads
If #2, get new pads.
I'd say take one of the front wheels off and look at your brakes. See if the squealer bar is touching the rotor when the brakes are not engaged. If so, replace those pads ASAP. Damage can occur if this is left unattended.
A large percentage of your braking power comes from your front brakes, so they will wear faster than the rears. A new brake pad is around 1/4 inch thick. You can look at them without taking them off the car and tell if they need to be replaced.