Brakes are the most important car safety feature and it is very important to check them regularly and repair if necessary. The following tips will help you save your money on brakes repair.
Inspecting Brakes with Eyes and Ears
You should check condition of your brakes at least once per six months. Her are some parts you should pay attention to:
Brake rotors (discs). Inspect them around the surface on both sides looking for scoring or other vivid defects. In the event you find the defect replace the rotors immediately. Discoloration of the rotors shows that they are overheated. In this case you should apply to a professional’s help.
Brake pads also should be inspected for scoring or other uneven defects. Again you must immediately replace them in the event the defects are found. A lot of modern cars are equipped with brake pad sensors which are designed to warn about the pad wear. Remember that these sensors are to be replaced together with the pads.
Brake drums (if available) also should be regularly checked for the same defects as mentioned above.
Brake shoes (if available). Wear them evenly so that they do not have any rivets that protrude to friction surface.
Other important aspects. Don’t neglect the wheel cylinders, calipers, fittings and hoses for any leakage. Check them together with the brakes. Also examine carefully the master cylinder, proportioning valve assemblies and reservoir. In the event of some troubles replace them or repair.
Don’t forget to look into the “spongy” brake pedal as hydraulic system problems, low fluid level, defective pads or sticking calipers can affect it. The problems are definitely caused by hydraulic system in the event you can’t “pump them up”. If you have to pump them up constantly than your hydraulic fluid level is low.
Every experienced driver knows how his or her brakes normally sound and can define a certain problem on hearing unordinary noises. When the pads lightly touch the rotors they produce a slight brushing sound. This sound is perfect. But the following ones indicate that something’s wrong with your brakes:
Squeaking tells you that there is some dust or dirt on the brakes.
Rhythmic noise indicates that the rotor is warped. In this case it pulsates and also the pedal can pulsate as well underfoot.
Constant brake noise indicates nothing good and you’d better apply for professional help.
THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT: remove the problem as soon as you find it. It is extremely dangerous to delay the brakes repair. Overstressed drums and rotors can break. The breaks if damaged or worn can fail to stop the car in the case of emergency. And even if you avoid physical injuring the longer you put away the brakes repair the more expensive it will turn out later.
Even if you prefer repairing everything yourself remember that every few years your brakes must be examined by an expert. Besides it is rather difficult to inspect all those parts right in your garage.