As we continue our series on common questions on cars and their maintenance, here’s some good info about brakes. We often see brake discs that will need to be replaced ONLY because the car owner did not replace the brake pads soon enough. Proper maintenance can save you hundreds of dollars!
If you drive maybe 10,000 miles a year or less, but it’s mainly in a busy city like Phoenix, you may need to replace the brakes more often than someone who drives 20,000 miles a year around rural areas. You’ll use your brakes a lot more in urban driving than on open roads or highways.
There’s no simple schedule that tells you when to replace the brakes, so you need to rely on your ears and the advice of automotive experts.
A SIMPLE KEY:
Most cars and light trucks should have their tires rotated about every 10,000 miles or so, and that’s a perfect time to inspect the brakes because they’re easy to see with the wheels off.
InSite OilChange can rotate your tires and check the thickness of the brake pads and/or brake shoes as well as the condition of the brake calipers or hardware to spot wear.
Most modern vehicles have built-in brake wear sensors that scrape against a brake disc when the pads needed replacing. You’ll hear an annoying screeching sound when you apply the brakes. Some cars have dashboard brake wear indicators that alert the driver, but this feature typically comes on expensive cars and it’s better to rely on regular brake inspections than to assume your car has this feature.
Not every vehicle has those sensors, so listen for squeaking, squealing, metal-on-metal grinding (often a sign that brake pads are completely worn out) and other noises that indicate wear. Some minor noises can be eliminated by cleaning the brakes, but strong persistent noises usually mean parts are worn – and that can become unsafe.
If the brake pedal pulsates during braking there could be a warped brake disc. If the steering wheel tugs or the car pulls to one side during braking, you may have worn brake pads on one side.
Other signs of worn brakes are longer stopping distances, or when you apply the brakes your foot goes down farther, closer to the floor. Because brakes wear gradually, you may not notice the decrease in performance, so that’s where the experienced eye of a mechanic can help.
InSite OilChange does tire rotations and can inspect your brakes AT YOUR LOCATION, not ours, because We Come to You!
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