View Post

Brake fluid exchanges maintain brake system, components

In Brake Fluid Flush, Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The brake fluid in today’s cars, trucks and SUVs are under greater pressure and heat than ever before. 

This is simply from normal wear and tear.

In order for a vehicle to stop, the brake pads clamp against the brake rotors, which are connected to the wheels. The calipers hold the pads.

As you brake – which is often if you live or travel through Northern Virginia – a lot of moisture and heat is generated.

Regular brake fluid exchanges help maintain this system and its components.

Benefits of a brake fluid exchange

Moisture in the brake system can lead to corrosion.

Flushing the brake fluid removes moisture and prevents corrosion from forming on components, including the calipers.

This service also helps your anti-lock braking system (ABS) last longer and restores the brake pedal so it feels firm.

If you put off a brake fluid exchange, the internal seals can wear out prematurely. The inside of soft brake hoses may also degrade, making it difficult for brake fluid to get where it needs to. 

Bleeders could become rusted overtime from not being adjusted.

How often to get this service

Steve’s Auto Repair recommends brake fluid exchanges every 30,000 miles. The time between each flush does differ among vehicles. Some manufacturers suggest this service be performed more frequently. 

Cars with systems that are run by computers, for example, may require them on 18 month or 24 month intervals. By looking at the owner’s manual, you can confirm what services your vehicle needs and when.

Mileage isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to brake fluid flushes.

You should also keep an eye out for certain symptoms that let you know the fluid needs to be replaced.

One indicator is dark fluid that contains rubber particles that have worn off the ABS or master cylinder.

A soft brake pedal is another sign. This occurs when moisture that has collected in the brake system is boiling.

We can check the brake fluid with a test strip, which tells us if there are metal contaminants.

Sometimes you may not be able to see metal contaminants in the brake fluid reservoir. If you see black specs, that normally has to do with pieces of the rubber seals. 

Another test that can be done is testing for moisture in the system. That would tell you if you have too much water in the system. The water can boil under extreme braking and cause a brake pedal fade. 

A lot of pen testers we have found don’t do a very good job, so we stopped using them.

Cars that have electric brakes don’t need a brake fluid exchange.

Brake fluid flush process

We replace old brake fluid with new brake fluid when performing a brake fluid flush. This is done using a machine that’s hooked up to the master cylinder. 

New fluid is added to the machine and the old fluid is removed by going to each wheel.

Our technicians use BG DOT 4 Brake Fluid. This product hinders rust and moisture from building up and preserves the brake system.

When in bumper to bumper traffic, you should feel confident as you step on the brake.

Brake fluid exchanges are something you can do to take care of the system, preventing expensive repairs and keeping you and your family safe.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

How do you do a complete brake job?

In Brake Fluid Flush, Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

This week, we replaced brakes on a Dodge Charger. They were low, due to normal wear and tear.

But doing a complete brake job doesn’t just consist of putting brake pads in and letting the car go.

When working on the Dodge Charger, we measured the brake rotors and determined if they were machineable. 

complete brake job
Dodge Charger

For most of these vehicles, it’s best to replace the rotors, even if they are machineable. That way, you don’t have to worry about warping or the brake pedal pulsating – which is when the car vibrates as a driver steps on the brake.

We recommend you use a good brake pad. Cheap does not equal good. There are businesses that will offer a lifetime warranty on brake pads, because they are cheap and can be thrown on anytime. However, these places will always find something wrong with your car.

You should also ensure that the caliper slides move. It’s also a good idea to clean them up and use the correct lubrication, so they can move back and forth freely.

During a brake job, our technicians also replace the hardware, if present. Hardware is a spring tension piece of metal located between the brake pad and caliper bracket that prevents the pad from banging back and forth and reduces squealing. It needs to be lubricated correctly, as well.

complete brake job
Brake hardware

Making sure the caliper piston boot isn’t torn or leaking is also important. 

Once the brake system is reassembled, we test the brake fluid to see if there are any contaminants. Over time, moisture builds up in the brake fluid and old seals and metal cause contaminants to accumulate. That is why we perform brake fluid exchanges.

So, in summary, a complete brake job means:

  • Replacing the brake pads and rotors
  • Checking the caliper slides
  • Replacing the brake hardware
  • Performing a brake fluid exchange
  • Doing a test drive

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

In Alignment, Brake Fluid Flush, Cabin Air Filter, Cooling System, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With the winter fading away, and the weather finally starting to warm up with the onset of spring, it’s time to get your vehicle ready with a little ‘spring cleaning’ maintenance.

These are the top 5 things you should do, to get your car ready for spring:

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Mercedes engine coolant flush

  1. Have your vehicle’s fluids flushed – including the coolant.

With winter on its way out, it’s a good idea to have all of your vehicle’s fluids flushed, checked, and refilled. It’s especially important for your coolant fluid to be flushed and topped off. Why? Because the warmer weather can raise the temperature of your vehicle, and coolant helps to keep things running smoothly.

“Given the fact that we’re going to start coming in to warmer weather, your car’s going to be running a little hotter because the ambient temperature’s going to be warmed up, so coolant’s a good fluid to get changed now,” said Rich Campbell, manager at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

  1. 5 things to have checked on your car this spring

    Checking tires at Steves Auto Repair and TIre

    Have your tires inspected.

All that driving in the ice and snow wears away at the tread on your tires, and over time that means your tires are going to need to be replaced. When its springtime and the snow and ice have cleared, that’s the perfect time to have your tires inspected by a technician. If your tires are worn down and losing traction, that can make a huge difference when stopping on wet spring roads, so it’s important to get them inspected.

“You need to make sure you’ve got adequate traction,” said Campbell.

  1. 5 things to have checked on your car this springHave your air cabin filter changed.

Cabin air-filter changes are an important part of maintenance year-round, but they’re even more important come springtime, because of the pollen and things floating in the air that can impair air quality.

“That cabin air filter filters your pollen, the dust, and getting ready for spring you want a good, fresh cabin air filter in there,” said Campbell.

maintenance

Tail light bulb replacement at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

4. Are your bulbs out?

Bulbs go out on vehicles all of the time, and it’s important to get them replaced, no matter what time of year it is. But when you’re doing your ‘spring cleaning’ checkup on your vehicle, it’s worth checking if any of your lights are out, as they’re easily replaced during a trip to the shop.

  1. Have your alignment checked out.

Bouncing around on potholes and that unexpected curb following a big snow storm can really throw your vehicle’s alignment out of whack. If you notice your car’s pulling, even slightly, or you’re noticing a very rough ride, then that’s a pretty good sign that you may need an alignment service. Many drivers get them during the spring, because of those potholes, left by the snow plows, we mentioned earlier.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Wheel alignment at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you want to make sure your vehicle is road-ready for all of the trips and events you’ve got planned for spring, then make sure that you take your car in for some spring maintenance at Steve’s.