Last summer, I noticed that the brakes seemed to be taking a little longer to stop the car. It wasn't bad, and I soon let the whole matter slip my mind. Remembrance came in the form of a grinding noise as I approached a traffic light one night. Fortunately, the emergency brake was enough to bring the car to a stop before I hit anything.
That was enough to teach me that fooling around with the brakes is not a good idea. I now include brake service as part of the basic maintenance of the car. Even if I need some kind of auto repair, I ask the shop to take a quick look at the brakes to make sure everything is okay.
Let me share what I've learned about the signs of failing brakes, and why quick action is necessary. You'll thank me later on.