When it comes to vehicle safety, brake pads are at the top of the list of items that should be replaced when your auto repair shop makes the recommendation. Brake pads are designed to slowly wear out as you apply pressure to them for stopping. You do not want to wait until they are completely worn down before you replace them; otherwise you are putting yourself at risk of what may happen if they completely fail. The cost for repair will be a lot greater if you wait, too. Another item to not overlook when it comes to maintenance is the brake fluid. Brake fluid plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s braking system. It is designed to transfer the force created when you press the brake pedal. Heat generated by braking, especially under heavier or prolonged braking, may lessen the effectiveness of the brake fluid. If the fluid becomes too hot, it can form bubbles in the system that may result in the brakes failing. It’s important to periodically check the condition and level of brake fluid. Brake fluid will always be at a constant level, unless there is a problem with the braking system. If you need to add fluid, you should bring your vehicle in to have the braking system checked. Here are some additional signs you may need a brake service:
- Your Car's Brake Light is On: This could mean something very serious. Do not ignore this warning light. First, check to make sure your emergency brake is not engaged. If it is not, brake service is required and you should schedule an appointment to have them checked immediately.
- Squealing: If your vehicle is making a squealing noise while driving but it goes away when you apply the brakes, this is a good indication you need to have your brakes repaired.
- Scraping Noise: This is usually caused by a brake lining that is very thin or metal-to-metal contact. You should schedule a brake job right away.
- Spongy or Soft Pedal: There are a few reasons this may be occurring. There could be air in the hydraulic system, the fluid could be low or a hose could be ballooning.
- Pedal Sinks to Floor: If this happens, you should bring your vehicle in for repair right away. It is not safe to drive. The possible causes of this symptom include a worn master cylinder or a leak in the hydraulic system.
- Drag: If the brake linking is in constant contact with the rotor or drum, you will experience drag, also known as "sticking" brakes. This may be the result of hot wheels or an engine that has lost power. If these are not the cause, you will want to bring your vehicle in to have the brakes inspected.
- Grab: Are the brakes “touchy” or do they grab with the slightest amount of pressure? Hard Pedal: Do you need to apply extreme pressure before your brakes will stop your car? This could be the result of any number of problems like restricted hydraulic lines, frozen calipers or cylinders or damaged brake linings.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or you are just concerned about your brakes, you should have them checked. Our technicians will be able to let you know if there is a problem that requires repair or maintenance.