It’s the time of year when brake servicing is even more important than usual. School is back in session, and there’s more congestion on the roads, kids crossing the streets, and parents in line for drop-off. This is the time you want to make sure that your brakes are working properly.
Signs of Brake Wear and Tear
If the brakes don’t seem to be working as well as they used to, it could be for several reasons. The brake pads and discs could be worn and not gripping as well, the hydraulic system could be losing pressure and fluid, the brake fluid could be old and has absorbed moisture, etc. Following are a few of the top signs of brake wear and tear to look for that call for brake servicing.
Warning Light Comes On
When one of the yellow or red brake indicator warning lights on the dashboard lights up it can mean one of a couple of things – you’re due for an inspection or the vehicle’s smart electronics are alerting you to a potential problem.
Grinding or Squealing Sounds
If you hear a grinding noise when you put on the brakes, it could mean the brake discs or pads need to be replaced. Brake pads have a metal wear indicator that will make a grinding sound when it comes into contact with the brake discs. If the pads are worn out enough to cause this to happen, you’ll probably need the discs replaced too. If you hear a high-pitched squealing sound when you apply the brakes, the pads have probably started coming into contact with the rotor. If this is the case, it’s important to have them repaired before the rotor is impaired because the later can be expensive.
Braking systems are intricate. One malfunctioning part can cause big problems. If there are any loose connections, worn seals, loose, or split hoses in the system, air and fluid can end up leaking out which makes the brakes fail. If you’ve been noticing problems, look for fluid on the ground where you park your car. If you need to press the brake pedal to the floor before your vehicle starts to slow down, it could be due to a leak in the brake system which is a serious problem.
Pulls to the Right or Left
Problems that can cause a vehicle to pull to the right are left include a sticking brake caliper or brakes that are worn more on one side than the other. This type of brake wear can be a serious problem if you need to brake hard in an unexpected emergency.
If you notice a vibrating feeling through the brake pedal or steering wheel as you slow down, it’s a sign that the brake discs are warped.
The most common types of services include:
- Brake Fluid Checks: Brake fluid levels are typically checked when you have the oil changed (make sure the auto care center you used checks all fluids). Brake fluid can become contaminated as moisture in it builds up which can end up breaking down metallic components.
- Anti-Lock Brake Diagnosis and repair: Most modern vehicles have anti-lock brakes. Brake servicing involved with anti-lock brakes include periodic sensor checks and sensor replacement if necessary.
- Drum Brake Inspection, Repair and Replacement: A drum brake inspection involves checking for scoring of the drums and shoe wear. If the brake shoes are severely worn, they will need to be replaced.
- Disc Brake Inspection, Repair and Replacement: Disc brake inspections look for pad wear and scoring on the rotor. Severely worn pads and rotors will need to be replaced. If the rotors aren’t extremely scored they can often be machined.
- Wheel Bearing Replacement: Wheel bearings on the majority of modern vehicles are sealed which means they don’t require servicing. Non-sealed wheel bearings need to be serviced at time periods recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
If you’d like brake servicing before school starts or any time of the year, give us a call.