When it comes to your car, there are some maintenance issues that you can put off until your budget looks better. Your brakes are not one of those issues. If you're having problems with your brakes, you need to have them looked at as soon as possible. Waiting too long to have your brakes looked at could result in a life or death situation. In most cases, your brakes will give you some warning signs that there's an issue you need to address. Here are three signs you should look for.

Spongy Brake Pedal

If you're met with a spongy brake pedal when you apply the brake, you need to stop driving your car. A spongy brake pedal usually means that there's a leak in the brake system—particularly the master cylinder. Continuing to drive your car with a spongy brake pedal could result in a collision. This is because your brakes aren't getting the fluid that they need to work properly. To prevent accidents, and repair the problem, you'll need to have your master cylinder replaced.

Car Pulls to One Side When You Step on the Brake

If your car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, you're looking at one of several potential problems. The most common cause is a frozen caliper—the component in your brakes that the brake fluid flows through. As the calipers wear out, they can get stuck. When they get stuck in the open position, water and dust can get inside and cause corrosion. When that happens, you'll start noticing your car pulling to one side when you apply the brakes. Your car will pull towards the side with the damaged caliper. This problem can be remedied by having your calipers replaced.

Steering Wheel Shakes When You Brake

If your steering wheel shakes each time you apply the brakes, the problem is most likely with your rotors. To work properly, your rotors should be smooth. Wear and tear can cause your rotors to warp. Moisture is another rotor problem that can cause your steering wheel to shake. If your car idles for too long in a rain storm or puddle, the moisture on the rotors can cause your steering wheel to shake when you apply the brake. This is usually caused by the brake pads coming in contact with a rough, or uneven portion of the rotor that has been made slick by moisture. You can cure this braking problem by having your rotors resurfaced.

If your brakes are giving you problems, don't take chances. If the brake problems described here sound familiar, you should schedule an appointment with your automotive repair mechanic as soon as possible.