Issues with a car’s brake system can be very serious, which is why it’s important to know what signs to look for when you suspect that you may have such problems. Identifying any issues early on, and bringing in your vehicle in for brake service, can not only save you a lot of money, it can also spare you from having to deal with a potentially dangerous situation. In this article we are going to cover how brakes work, and how you can prevent future issues with your brake system.
How do brakes work?
It all starts with the brake pedal, where the braking system converts the pressure you apply with your foot into hydraulic pressure through the brake lines, which ends up stopping the vehicle. The hydraulic pressure is created when a master cylinder is activated by the pressure of the brake pedal, and this pressure will then press the pads against the brake rotor, creating friction that slows down the spin of the wheels.
The braking system is composed of at least one:
- Brake pad
- Brake rotor
- Brake shoe
- Brake drum
- Brake caliper
- Brake line
When you take your car in for a quick service, your vehicle may need brake pad replacement or a brake fluid exchange, among other services. Experienced technicians will also make sure that your fluid levels are proper and that there is no fluid leak.
How can I tell if I need new brakes?
There are several ways in which your vehicle will let you know that you need a brake inspection. One is through sound. There are three main symptoms that you need to look out for, each one indicating a different issue. You have screeching, squealing and grinding noises. Screeching noises indicate a brake issue with the pads when they are almost worn out, or when the brake pad is made of an improper material for your vehicle. In this situation, you will usually hear a loud screech whenever you press the brake pedal.
A squealing noise will indicate that a brake pad is completely worn out, and the sound you hear is metal pressing on metal. This is due to the way brake pads are designed – they have a piece of metal placed inside the pad specifically to make this noise in order to signal that you have a brake problem.
Finally, you have the grinding sound. This noise occurs in a similar situation to the squealing noise, where the pad’s soft material is completely worn out and you have metal grinding against your brake rotor. This brake issue needs to be urgently addressed.
You can also notice that you need a brake inspection through the way the car drives. If the brake pedal feels “spongy,” it may indicate that air has entered the hydraulic fluid of the brake system. The stopping power of the car will be poorer until the brake system is bled properly.
If the brake pedal seems like it’s pulsating when you apply it, it may be an indication that the brake rotor or drum is warped. It is recommended that you go through a rotor replacement in order to prevent uneven brake wear and more costly repairs down the road.
Finally, if you start to feel vibrations in the steering wheel, you might have warped rotors and worn down pads. This issue might appear in conjunction with a pulsating brake pedal. In this situation, repairs are needed.
How can I get more life from my brake pads and rotors?
There are few things you can do and take into account in order to prolong the life of your brake system. First, you will need to find the right brake repair service. Is your mechanic using high quality parts? Is the service good? If you notice any issues with your brake service, you might be going to a mechanic that is not ASE certified. If the brakes are not replaced properly and with high quality brake parts at your service center, you will end up having issues sooner rather than later.
The weight of your car can also have an impact on your braking system. A heavier car is harder to stop, and the longer it takes for a vehicle to stop, the more wear and tear on the brake parts. To remove this extra burden from your braking system, make sure that you remove any extra, unneeded weight from your car.
You then have the issue of constant braking. If you drive with your foot on the brake pedal, even if it is just a light contact, you can actually engage the brakes and create a constant source of friction and heat. Braking too often is also an issue here. Try to foresee situations where you would need to brake ahead of time and slow down instead or use an engine brake.
Finally, you have aggressive driving as an issue that leads to braking problems. When you drive aggressively, you will have to brake more often and more strongly in order to reduce excess speed. If you drive like this, soon enough you will need to take your vehicle in for brake service.
Does your vehicle require a brake repair job?
Whenever you notice any issues with your automotive brake, whether it’s a grinding sound, pulsation when you press the brake pedal, or the brake light coming on, it’s essential that you visit an auto repair shop and set up a maintenance schedule. As a vehicle owner, you want to have peace of mind whenever you are on the road, and also save money by avoiding more expensive repairs that may be needed down the line without routine maintenance. If you are looking for a fully certified technician to service your vehicle, contact us today. Our customer service team will be more than glad to help you set up an appointment or answer any questions you may have.