If you’ve driven a vehicle for at least a few years, you realize how important it is to take care of your brakes. You never know when the driver in front of you is going to slam on their brakes. That’s going to be the true test that will determine how good your vehicle’s brakes are.
The brakes play one of the most important roles when it comes to safety. Brakes are meant to keep you and your family safe while on the road. This is why it is essential to practice regular maintenance on your vehicle’s braking system. The braking system consists of five main parts: brake pads, rotors, calipers, lines, and a master cylinder.
Here are some tips to make sure everything will stay in tip-top shape:
Check the brakes
This might sound like a given, but you should check the brakes at least once a year. When you go to get your tires rotated, it is a good rule of thumb to ask the mechanics to perform a brake check while they’re at it.
A brake inspection should consist of brake pad/lining wear, your brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, including your brake lights and dashboard warning lights.
Check the brake pads
Brake pads help your car come to a stop when you hit your brakes, with the help of the rotor. The continuous friction caused from hitting our brakes makes the brake pads wear down over time.
One of the regular parts of car maintenance is replacing brake pads. How can you tell if it is time to replace them? One of the easiest ways to tell is to look under your car. If you can see the brake pads without having to remove the wheels or any other parts, you need to change them. Here are a few other ways you can tell if the brake pads need to be replaced:
· The brake pads have 1/8” or less of padding
· The rotor disc has grooves and rough spots (it should be shiny and have some lines)
· You notice brake dust either around your car or on your front tires
· You hear a screeching noise when you step on the brake
· Your car shakes, grinds, or pulls to one side when you step on the brake
Check the brake fluid
The clear hydraulic fluid you see in your car’s brake system is the brake fluid. It can absorb heat and disperse it throughout the brake system. Now only can it absorb heat, but it can also absorb water. This can cause damage to other parts throughout the brake system.
You can check the fluid by searching under your hood. It isn’t likely that it will be located in the same place for every car. If you notice the brake fluid is becoming a dark color, it is important that you change it with fresh fluid. By leaving the contaminated brake fluid alone, there is a possibility of destroying the master cylinder. Before you change the brake fluid, check the owner’s manual to ensure you are using the proper type of fluid needed for your car.
Make sure the brake fluid is also at an appropriate level. If the fluid level is low, top it off with the proper brake fluid.
Time for new brakes?
If your brakes are in bad shape, you may need to replace the brakes. The good news is that now you can be better prepared for your new brakes. Here are some common signs of brake problems:
· The brake warning light comes on (including the ABS warning light)
· There are weird noises when you hit the brakes
· The car either pulls away or shakes when you apply the brakes
· The brake pedal feels either too soft (touches the floor when you press the pedal) or too hard (barely moves when you press the pedal)
Sergeant Clutch Discount Transmission and Auto Repair Shop
Whether you've got all-wheel disc brakes or an older drum brake system, brakes equal stopping power. Without healthy brakes, you can get in a serious accident. Sergeant Clutch wants to keep you and your vehicle safe. If you live in San Antonio and are having brake problems, you need to act fast.
Don’t hesitate to call Sergeant Clutch to diagnose or service your vehicle. Here, our customers come first. We offer a free brake performance check, which includes road test, lining condition of brake pads or brake shoes, calipers, wheel cylinders for leak, brake hardware, brake rotors and brake drums for wear and damage, brake hydraulic system, and brake master cylinder. Call Sergeant Clutch at 210-239-1600 for more information.