All About Brakes

brake-light-warning

Just like missing the sunshine when it’s rainy outside, you don’t appreciate your good brakes until you start to feel them wear down. It might not be the flashiest part of your car, but you cannot safely operate a vehicle without good brakes. The way brakes work is simple to understand, and once you do, it becomes apparent that inspections are necessary. As a safe driver, you should also know what to look for in case it’s time to replace your brakes.

How Do Brakes Work?

Your brakes are responsible for slowing down and stopping your wheels. As brakes slow your wheels down, the friction of your tires on the roads increases, and your vehicle comes to a halt. All of this happens because of a few parts. Your brake system is made of rotors, calipers, brake pads, brake lines, and a master cylinder.

Your brake pads are on either side of your rotor. The rotors connect to the wheels, so when your brake pads grip the rotor, it slows the wheel down. Just like squeezing a plate between your fingers to slow it. Brake pads wear down as you press against the brakes. Other parts can malfunction, but the pads are most likely to wear out. If ignored, your rotors can be worn down also.

What is a Brake Inspection?

During a brake inspection, the entire braking system should be checked by a professional mechanic. This includes every part, to make sure a hose isn’t worn out, your fluid isn’t low, and your pads are safe. Only after a thorough inspection can the exact problem with your brakes be diagnosed. Some of the steps include:

  • Measurement of the brake pad thickness
  • Inspection for rough spots, damage, and warping
  • Check of the brake lines for corrosion and cracking
  • Check of brake fluids contamination

Depending on the results of your brake inspection, your qualified mechanic will recommend a brake pad replacement, rotor polishing or replacement, caliper pin replacement, and/or brake fluid flush.

How Often Should I Have My Brakes Inspected?

The majority of vehicles need their tires rotated every six months. Your brake pads need to be replaced between 20,000 to 60,000 miles of wear. Your brake fluids need flushing every two years or 30,000 miles.

With your tire rotation, it is a great time to get your brakes inspected. Depending on driving conditions and the make and model of your car, you might need more frequent service on your brakes.

Signs That Your Brakes Are Malfunctioning

Brakes wear down after months and years of use. Pay attention to the way your vehicle drives to detect issues with your brakes. Some common signs of brake malfunctions include:

  • Your brake pedal can be pushed almost to the floor when stopping.
  • Hitting the brake does not get the fast response it used to. (Drive another vehicle and compare the operation of your brakes to it.)
  • You hear a loud squeal or a harsh grinding sound when you hit your brakes.
  • The indicator light for your brakes lights up on your dashboard.
  • You’re past the miles recommended by your manufacturer for replacement.

Why Did My Brake Light Come On?

Your brake light came on because some part of your braking system is not working as it should. There are a few sensors in the typical brake system so it is most likely to be your brake pads or low brake fluid. Keep yourself safe on the road by bringing your car in immediately for a brake inspection. Replace the parts in a timely manner and do not put off the service, for your own safety, and to avoid more costly future repairs.

Dana Meyer Auto Care to the Rescue

At Dana Meyer Auto Care,  we provide you with the finest automotive support possible, regardless if you are driving a Model A or the latest Lexus. For more than 43 years, we have teamed with the finest ASE certified technicians to provide you with the best brake inspection, repair and maintenance services available in your neighborhood.

Make an appointment and have your brakes inspected by our professional automotive technicians today! Discover how easy it is to keep your car in perfect condition – regardless of what happens on the road.

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