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Diagnosing brake problems is easy and any good mechanic can narrow down symptoms quickly and efficiently.
Some automotive brake pads are made well, while other brake pads are made with inferior materials and are poor quality. Using a good brake is always crucial to the life of automotive brake pads. The quality of brake pads is generally made of a good material.
Will you pay more for good quality brake? Sometimes you will, but the price difference isn't much compared to the costs of replacing lesser quality brakes more often. Add that to the cost of the rotors, if damaged by less quality brakes. Factor in the poor performance of the brakes, as well.
There are several distinctive noises or sounds brake pads will make when having problems: a heavy squeal that sounds like metal to metal rubbing against each other. If you have this sound, you are past due for a brake replacement and possibly need to look at a rotor replacement, as well.
A weak or spongy brake pedal or a pedal that is sinking to the floor when pressure is applied are symptoms that your brakes may need to be replaced, but definitely need to be checked.
You may feel a vibration or shutter in the pedal or steering wheel. When diagnosing brake problems, listen, feel and observe your vehicle's braking. If anything feels or sounds differently or seems out of the norm, have your brakes checked by a professional.