Having properly functioning brakes on your car is not optional—think about how hazardous even a short trip to the store would be without being able to stop as quickly as anticipated. You don’t want to be responsible for rear-ending that vehicle in front of you, so make sure you are paying proper attention to the wear that accumulates with normal, everyday braking.
A regular brake inspection is essential to proper vehicle care and can save you money in the long run.
First, make sure you get a brake inspection at least once a year. The inspection should include an evaluation of the brake pads and shoes, braking hardware, hydraulic fluid, rotor/drum wear, calipers and master cylinder.
Second, if your anti-lock braking system (ABS) light or your brake system warning light comes on, have the system inspected as soon as possible. An ABS light indicates a malfunction with the antilock brakes, and the ABS system will be disabled as long as the light is on. (Important Note: You will still have normal braking, just not the ABS.)
The brake system warning light comes on when the brake fluid dips below a minimum level in the master cylinder. This often happens under hard braking or around sharp turns when the brake pads are near the end of their lives.
In extreme cases, this light signals a serious safety problem. If you notice moderate to severe sponginess in the brake pedal or if the brake pedal goes straight to the floor, don’t attempt to drive the vehicle. It is not safe to drive. Have it towed to your auto repair provider because, most likely, there’s a major malfunction in the brakes.
In between visits to the shop, become attuned to your vehicle’s performance. Many problems related to brakes can be prevented by paying attention to telltale signs of trouble, including:
- Your car pulls to one side when you press down on the brakes, instead of stopping in a straight line.
- Your car jerks to a stop when you press down on the brakes.
- Your brake pedal is either mushy, difficult to press down, or you must pump the brakes to get them to work right.
- Your brakes grind uninterrupted and you hear a loud noise when you press down on the brake pedal.
- You notice a burning smell during or after driving that seems to come from one or more of your wheels.
- You see fluid leaks around any wheel or in the engine compartment near the master cylinder.
Don’t wait until your brakes are in any of the aforementioned conditions before you seek help—your life and the lives of others on the road are depending on the safety and peace of mind that regular brake inspections can provide.
No Comments so far
Leave a comment
Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>