Have you noticed that your brakes are squeaking, grinding or making other noises? That’s often a sign that your brakes are wearing thin, and that it’s time for a replacement. Brakes are absolutely essential for safely driving your vehicle, and you need to make sure that they’re being inspected and replaced regularly.
Because we know it’s so important, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire offers a free brake inspection, by appointment, for all of our customers. As part of our inspection, we look at the entire brake system, checking for the thickness of the brake pads, the condition of the rotors and calipers, the brake fluid levels and how well they absorb moisture. We also check for fluid leaks.
In addition to the courtesy inspection, we provide quality brake service at our shop. One service that you need to be getting done regularly is the brake fluid flush. We follow the industry standard on this, and recommend a brake fluid flush every 2 years, or 30,000 miles. During the service, hydraulic fluid is put into the braking system through the wheel cylinders and calipers, and allows for more effective stopping and driving control.
The reason that your brake fluid needs to be flushed and replaced is that over time, as your brake shoes and pads get worn down, you need to increase the amount of brake fluid in the system to make sure the vehicle still has stopping power. Also, if you live brake fluid in the system for too long, it can even become corrosive in your vehicle and cause damage.
What kind of brakes do you have? The type of brakes on your car can impact what services and products you need for your vehicle. The most common types of brakes out there currently are drum and disc brakes, and some vehicles even have a combination of the two. Let’s talk about drum and disc brakes some more. Disc brakes are shaped like a disc, and are considered to hold up and perform better than drum brakes. Drum brakes are often found on older vehicles, and work off of the hydraulic system in your car. They also have shoes instead of pads and drums instead of discs.
One particular component in your braking system that you may not think about are the calipers. Brake calipers are actually part of the hydraulic braking system that puts pressure on the master cylinder, when you apply the brakes. They’re typically made out of cast iron or aluminum and there are several different types. There are fixed calipers, which are stationary and mounted to the steering knuckle and have two to four pistons. And there are floating calipers, which are mounted either on bushings or guide pins, and slide with the rotor. They also have only one piston, because that’s actually all that you need to apply the brakes.
Another brake system you may have in your vehicle are anti-lock brakes. These brakes were made to help drivers keep control in extreme conditions. While they won’t make a huge difference on a dry normal road, when there’s winter weather or hydroplaning, they can make a big difference. Because of the sophisticated components in the anti-lock brakes, it’s extremely important to have the brake flush service done regularly, to keep the brake system working and not causing damage to the vehicle.
Aside from making sure that you’re getting regular brake service done on your vehicle, how can you tell when there’s an issue? There are actually brake lights and warning lights that will tell you. If the red light comes on it’s your brake light, and it can either mean that you’re low on brake fluid, or that there’s a potential leak. If you’ve got an anti-lock brake system, and the yellow ABS light is on, that means there could be an issue with the system. And some vehicles even have an indicator light for low brake pads that can help signal an issue as well.
Regardless of what’s going on with your brakes, give us a call. We’re ready to help you, and have decades of experience working on brake systems. And don’t forget to take advantage of your courtesy brake inspection.