Are you hearing squeaking, grinding, creaking while driving around? Perhaps you experienced a moment when you hit the brakes at a junction, and something didn’t feel right?
If you’re experiencing any of these, you may hear your car’s brake system crying for help.
As you can probably imagine, your car's brake system is one of the most important. If you can’t stop at high speeds, well, it’s not good. You know this.
However, while safety is undoubtedly the priority for you, your family, your other passengers, and everyone around you, there’s also the fact that if you leave your brakes to cry on untreated, you risk permanently damaging your car and your brake system, and this can become very expensive.
The alternative is to keep on top of your brakes, giving them regular brake checks and keeping up with wear and tear repairs as they come up, instead of waiting for the problems to compound and the costs to add up in one huge, necessary bill.
And how do you do such a check?
This guide explains everything you need to know when optimizing your brake’s lifespan and performance.
Arm yourself with knowledge, take preventative action, and pump the brakes on major repair bills - let’s get into this.
An Introduction to Your Brake System
Let’s get on the same page and cover the basics, starting with how your car's brake system actually works. This is really important because it helps you understand where things can go wrong, and if you end up going to a mechanic, you’ll know what to ask for and what their answers mean.
So, you’re driving along, and you see something, push down on the brakes, and what happens?
Well, when you press the brake pedal, a hydraulic system transmits force to the calipers, which clamp the brake pads against the rotor. This creates friction that slows your wheels.
If you’ve ever looked at a bicycle wheel braking system, this very much works in the same way.
Now, because friction and force are what’s used to slow the vehicle down, these systems will suffer from wear and tear over time. The pads wear down, rotors warp, and fluid leaks.
And when this happens, performance suffers.
Ignoring these signs of distress leads to reduced stopping power, compromised safety, and costly repairs, but if you keep on top of brake care, every component stays in harmony, optimizing braking power.
This is why regular brake checks are important.
General wear and tear are fine, but when you drop before a certain performance level, you become dangerous and expensive.
The trick is to stay mindful and aware of your brakes, taking the time to replace them when they just get to the point of not offering enough performance while also maximizing the duration of your initial investment.
How to Carry Out a Regular Brake Check: A Simple Guide
While we’ll always recommend getting a professional mechanic to look over your brakes since they’ll have the experience and equipment to do a proper check (and they know what they’re doing), you can quite simply carry out your own check just to see what’s going on for free.
Monitor brake warning lights: Keep an eye on your dashboard for any brake system warning lights, signaling that it's time for a checkup.
Listen for strange noises: Squealing or grinding noises when braking may indicate worn brake pads or other issues, warranting an inspection.
Feel for vibrations or pulsing: If you notice vibrations or pulsing in the brake pedal, it could be a sign of warped rotors or uneven wear.
Check brake fluid levels: Inspect your brake fluid periodically and top it off if necessary. Change the fluid every 20,000 miles or as your vehicle's manufacturer suggests.
Schedule routine inspections: Have a professional check your brakes during regular maintenance appointments or at least annually.
These are the signs you need to be on the lookout for, and if you come across any of them, it’s probably high time you book in with a professional and get your car seen, too.
Act quickly, and you’ll stay safe while reducing the risk of unnecessary costs.
The Role of Regular Maintenance
Oh, and before we finish up this guide, it’s worth noting that regular brake maintenance is an investment that pays off in spades.
It keeps your car running at optimum levels, ensures your safety, avoids unnecessary wear and tear, and saves costly future fixes.
The easy way to do this is to regularly check the brake fluid to keep the system running smoothly while keeping an eye on the brake pads to prevent damage to the rotors.
Aside from these checks, seasonal brake inspections are key–changes in the weather can impact brake performance and accelerate wear.
In short, regular maintenance is a cost-effective method of prolonging your vehicle's life, avoiding unnecessary risks on the road, and safeguarding the longevity of your brake system.
It's a win-win-win!
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to forget about our vehicle's brake system until something goes wrong.
But we've seen how important it is to appreciate, understand, and care for this crucial component of our vehicles, both for our safety and pocketbooks.
If you've noticed any of the warning signs we mentioned, or if it's been a while since your last brake check, don't delay!
Now’s the perfect time to contact us and schedule your brake check at Jesse Britts Automotive. We’re over at 828 N Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76710!
Our experienced team is ready and equipped to service your vehicle with the utmost care and expertise.
Remember, prevention is better, safer, and more cost-effective than cure. Give your brakes the attention they deserve, and enjoy a safer, smoother, and more confident drive!