If you're beginning to hear noises anytime you apply the brakes in your car, it might be time to take the vehicle to a mechanic to make sure it's prepared for the winter season.

With the winter weather quickly approaching us, Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer news, recently gave tips to determine whether you need brake repair from a repair specialist.

One of the most obvious signs that brakes need to be repaired is the sounds that come from the parts. According to the source, if you hear squealing sounds whenever the brakes are applied, it might be a sign that your brakes need to be replaced or inspected, at the very least. Many vehicle and brake components are designed to give wear indicators to produce sounds to suggest that work is needed, so motorists should make sure they are paying attention to the noises their car is making.

If you hear or feel grinding when the brakes are applied, you should replace the pads immediately. It means the pads weren't replaced in time or something is rubbing against the brake rotors the wrong way. The brakes grinding also shows that the auto parts are beyond their wear limit and they may be coming into rough and uneven contact with the rotors.

Other signs of wear
If you're feeling vibrations or pulsations when the brakes are applied, it typically indicates that the brake rotor is significantly worn or warped. Since braking relies on the pads and rotor coming cleanly into contact. A rotor that is affected by friction or heat can create vibrations that lead to even more problems with the vehicle.

Another sign that the car's brakes needs to be replaced is if you don't feel a firm response when you press down on the brake pedals. If you are the owner of a late-model vehicle, brake pedals that feel mushy or can't be pressed all the time could indicate a leak or gap in the brake lines, which could allow air to enter and make the braking power less effective, also compromising the performance of the vehicle.

On newer models, the dashboard can also be an indicator that the brakes need to be replaced. The dashboard on new vehicles now give warnings when the braking system needs to be checked with an "ABS" or "brakes" warning light is illuminated on the instrument cluster and doesn't go away or flashes. The owner's manual should be checked to determine exactly what needs to be done when those lights are flashing or stays on while the car is being driven.

Angie's List suggests that you make brake checks a part of your ongoing regular vehicle maintenance to ensure safety and reliability. It's a good idea to have your brakes checked once every six months to see if there are any signs of wear.

Brakes generally need to be repaired or replaced every 20,000-30,000 miles and shouldn't be delayed since the parts are such a crucial part of a vehicle's health.

When you decide to take the vehicle into an automotive technician, you should ask the mechanic about their experience inspecting brakes and making repairs, in addition to asking them if they have specialized tools and equipment. The last tip is to not wait until the last minute to have those brakes repaired.

You should also make sure that your car's headlights and tail lights are working properly to make things easier, especially during the winter months. With the weather conditions expected to be unfavorable, headlights and tail lights become more important.