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Car Maintenance Tip 3: Never Put Off A Brake Inspection

As far as safety systems go, your vehicle’s brake system is by far the most important. The functionality and operation of your car’s brake system hinges on following through with routine maintenance. It’s imperative that you schedule routine inspections and attend to any needed repairs to ensure your car continues to work as designed.

Brakes are one of the many parts in your car that experience normal wear-and-tear from regular driving and, for both safety and performance reasons, will ultimately need replacing. Scheduling regular brake service and maintenance helps brakes avoid reaching the “metal-on-metal” stage, thus preventing you from facing potential costly rotor or drum replacements.

What to Watch For

Even though there isn’t a specified time period for when or how often you should have your brakes serviced, there are some general signals that should help you determine if your car issue is related to your brake system. Here are a few warning signs to watch for that may indicate it’s time for you to get your brakes serviced.

- Unusual Noise - If you start hearing a noise while braking (either a squealing noise or a grinding noise), this could indicate an issue with your brake pads. Over time, brake pads will wear down and will eventually need replacing. Brake pad repair is typically inexpensive however; allowing your brake pads, rotors and drums to wear through could lead to some very costly repairs down the road.

- Excessive Foot Pedal Pressure -If you have to exert more pressure on your foot pedal while braking, you most likely need to have your brake pads replaced.

- Brake Warning Light - Now, this may seem like a rather obvious signal that there’s an issue with your brakes, but you would be surprised how often car dashboard warning lights are ignored. If you notice that the Brake Warning light is on, this is a clear signal that you need to have your brake system checked. Brake Warning lights are designed to provide helpful safety alerts and are especially helpful in cars with computer-controlled braking systems. Computer-controlled braking systems not only detect major brake problems, but also identify minor issues that you may not otherwise be able to feel. Fixings these issues early on can save you from having costly repairs in the future.

During a typical brake servicing, a technician will inspect your brake linings, drums, rotors as well as your brake fluid. If the technician finds an issue with your brakes, they will generally perform a “brake job”. This includes brake pad and/or shoe replacement, as well as replacing the associated hardware. Your car’s drums and rotors may require replacing as well depending on their condition and thickness.

Before leaving your brake servicing appointment make sure your parking brake is examined by the technician for correct function and adjustment. The parking brake is sometimes overlooked and may also need brake shoes/pads replacement.

Until next time, drive safely.