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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.

Replacing brakes on a Dodge Charger

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

Dodge Charger.

Dodge Charger

For most of these vehicles, it’s best to replace the rotors, even if they are machinable. 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.

Other services included in complete brake job

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.

Brake hardware.

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. 

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When to replace drum brakes

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With the stop-and-go traffic found across Northern Virginia, it’s especially important to make sure your brakes are taken care of.

A 2002 Ford Explorer Sport had its drum brake shoes replaced recently.

Drum brakes are one of two types of brakes a car will have, with disc brakes being the other one. The parts of each brake type and how they work differ.

For drum brakes, two shoes push out and pull the drum up.

Disc brakes are found on the front and rear of most vehicles, but some have both.

Replacing drum brakes

Brakes should be a minimum of 2/32 of an inch to pass the Virginia state inspection.

We recommend drivers begin replacing their brakes when they hit 3/32 of an inch or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the vehicle. Some manufacturers may suggest they get changed sooner.

Because the brake shoes press against the drum, you may hear a squealing or grinding sound when they’re getting low.

The parking brake not holding as well might also be an indicator.

Sometimes, an adjustment can fix the parking brake. But if it needs to be adjusted too much, it may be time to replace the brake shoes.

Pulsation could mean that brake repair is needed. However, that sign is normally associated with the drum being out of round.

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.

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Brake problems on a Ford Explorer

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Brake problems are something drivers should be watchful for.

We worked on a 2000 Ford Explorer XLT that had a stiff brake pedal when the customer started braking. Then, it would become softer as they continued pressing on the brake pedal. A car’s brake pedal is supposed to be able to maintain pressure. If it goes down, something’s wrong.

As the Explorer stopped, it would pulsate. While working on the vehicle, Brian discovered heavy rust on the brake rotors, which was one of the reasons behind the pulsation. 

We installed a new wheel hub and bearing assembly, which have Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) sensors.

hub and bearing assembly.

hub and bearing assembly

The ABS monitors the wheel speed compared to the others and prevents a vehicle’s tires from locking up when there’s an emergency. This enables you to maintain steering control. In old cars, during a panic stop, the vehicle could start to slide.

Also known as “wheel bearings”, a hub bearing helps keep the wheel on. It is pressed into hub bearings, and the axle runs through them.

The Explorer’s front brake pads and rotors were also replaced.

Other brake problems

If the steering wheel shakes or shimmies, it could be a sign the brakes are going bad.

We talk about other signs that you need new brakes and rotors in this article.

Our technicians are able to address brake problems and can provide brake repairs.

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.

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Signs that you need new brakes and rotors

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The braking system is one of the many parts of a vehicle that need to be taken care of.

In Northern Virginia — where there’s a lot of stop and go traffic — car brakes and rotors tend to wear out more quickly than other parts of the country.

So, if you are living or commuting in this region, it’s especially important that you make sure your brakes are working right.

When to replace brakes and rotors

How long do brakes last in Northern Virginia?

The lifespan of brakes varies and is based on different factors, including the vehicle make and model, the driving style – like whether you drive with one foot or two feet.

It also depends on if you’re commuting or driving around town. A lot of people don’t realize that commuting is heavy duty driving. Many also don’t know that parents who are just driving to school, running errands, and bring kids to soccer puts a lot of wear and tear on the brakes.

How do you know when to get new brakes and rotors if the time frame is different for each vehicle? There are signs you need new brakes.

These include a steering wheel that shakes or shimmies. You may also notice squealing, groaning, rattling and grinding sounds. This can be the result of parts becoming loose or not being lubricated enough.

Large amounts of brake dust building up on the wheels, and the brake pads and rotors experiencing excessive wear are also indicators of brake problems.

You should also have the braking system checked out if the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) warning light has turned on.

When looking over brakes, we check to see if the brake rotors are scoured and if the customer noticed a vibrating brake pedal. The brake pads could have plenty of thickness, but the rotors may have a variation where it feels like they’re pulsating when you press the brake pedal.

Drum brakes and disc brakes

There are two types of brakes — drum brakes and disc brakes. Both are made up of an array of components.

Drum brakes have two shoes that push outward and pull the drum up.

Brake pads, rotors and calipers are some of the parts that make up disc brakes. 

The wheels of a vehicle are connected to the brake rotors through the wheel hub. Calipers hold the pads that clamp against the rotor, stopping the wheel.

You should always replace brake pads and rotors at the same time. This ensures that they last a long time and work properly.

Most cars today have disc brakes in the front and rear. Some cars have disc and drum brakes.

Brake technology is available for some vehicles. 

Almost all BMWs, for example, have brake wear indicators that let you know when your brakes are getting low.

Steve’s Auto Repair offers brake services

Brake service doesn’t just refer to brake replacement. It also includes changing brake hardware, making sure the caliper slides are working correctly, and brake fluid exchanges. 

Brake fluid exchanges, which maintain brake parts and the braking system, should be conducted every 30,000 miles.

The technicians at our Woodbridge auto repair shop are able to perform these types of brake repair and do a complete brake job. We can also replace brake hoses and brake lines.

So, feel free to reach out if you live in the Woodbridge area and are thinking about typing “brake repair near me” into your preferred search engine.

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.

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Brake service alerts available for BMW vehicles

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Did you know that your BMW is equipped with smart technology that tells you on your dashboard when you brake service is needed?

You have brake wear indicators on almost all BMW vehicles to include your BMW SUV. These brake service alerts will warn you of when your brakes are getting low.

We will replace your brake pads, rotors, brake wear sensors, lube the caliper slides, and flush your brake fluid to ensure your safety on the busy northern Virginia roads.

Whether you have a BMW sedan, coupe, convertible, or SUV, we have you covered.

Updated brake service alerts

Some of the older versions of BMW 650i had customers that were experiencing some squealing, even when the brakes were not ready to be replaced.

BMW has since then come out with a newer version of the brake wear sensor with a new design to prevent that from occurring. It can be identified by its new green color!

When we replace your brake components here at Steve’s, we will reset your brake maintenance reminder for free with our service. We also provide all BMW approved fluids for your car.

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.