Brakes are one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. Who is at fault in a rear-end accident, even if the person in front stops or pulls in front of you unexpectedly? Talk about ruining your day, whether you run into someone or are the one who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There are definite signs that will alert you of problems with your brakes. Are you noticing any of the following:
- Are you hearing squealing or grinding when you step on the brake pedal?
- Do you have to push your brake pedal in further than you used to?
- Do you feel or hear vibrations or clunking sounds when braking?
- Do you feel your car or steering wheel “shudder” when you are braking at higher speeds?
- Brake warning light on your dashboard
These are all indicators of impending brake failure, or the need for replacement or brake repair. To keep you and your family safe, brakes should be inspected every other oil change, or about twice/year. All brake pads, shoes, rotors and drums are designed to wear down with use and require periodic replacement. Brake pads can be accurately measured once the wheels are removed. When brake pads are new, they will measure about 12mm. At Honest Accurate Auto Service, we keep our customers informed of when they are getting close to needing brake pad replacement, so that they can plan for this necessary service.
Sensors are placed on your brake pads to alert you by making a squealing sound when the pad is about 2mm thick, letting you know that they will require replacement very soon. However, the squealing sound will only alert you for a week or two, and then the sound will disappear. That doesn’t mean that problem has gone away, but rather that it has worn past the sensor and repairs are needed immediately. If the pads are not replaced, not only do you lose stopping power, you will have metal-to-metal contact, resulting in permanent damage to the rotors/drums (the surface that the brake pads compress to stop your wheels). In order to keep the pads and rotors working well together and ensuring smooth stopping power, we generally machine the rotors/drums at the same time we are replacing your brake pads/shoes. If permanent damage (overheating/warping, heat cracks or metal-to-metal grooving) has been done to the rotors or drums, they will then require replacement, which is significantly more expensive. Timely brake maintenance and service (including brake flush) keeps you safe, decreases repair costs, and saves you money by warding off those very expensive accident costs associated with poorly functioning brakes. Don’t delay – have your brakes inspected by your favorite Honest Accurate Auto technician now and drive (stop!) safely!