1) Scraping sounds likely mean it's time for new disc brake pads.
This sound comes from metal grinding against metal—which can affect the speed at which your car stops. It's wise to get this fixed as soon as possible.
2) If your brake pedal sinks to the floor, beware.
This may be a sign that the master cylinder—which holds your brake fluid—is not properly holding pressure, a potentially dangerous condition that can cause brakes to stop functioning the way they are supposed to. Get this checked out as soon as possible.
3) Don't consistently ride the brakes while going downhill.
By resting your foot on the pedal unnecessarily, it can wear out the brake pads much more rapidly than would happen normally.
4) Get your brakes checked at least once a year.
This is the best way to prevent extra costs. Going to an auto shop approved by RepairPal [http://repairpal.com]—a nationwide network of 1,700 certified, pre-screened repair shops on a mission to help you find quality auto repair at a fair price—is the best way to be certain that your car is safe.