The brakes are the most important safety feature of any vehicle. Understanding how your brakes work and how to maintain them can help keep you and your loved ones safe.
How Do Brakes Work?
Brake lines are a closed system filled with brake fluid. When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, a piston in the master cylinder transmits pressure to the brakes on all four wheels, multiplying the force of your foot’s pressure in the process. Whether you have disc brakes or drum brakes, the principle is the same—materials press together within the brake system to create friction and stop the wheels from turning.
How External Factors Affect Brakes
Weather and road conditions can have a significant impact on the stopping ability of your brakes. Always follow at a greater distance when the roads are wet, snowy, or icy, and brake early to ensure you can stop in time.
Be aware that tires work in conjunction with the brakes and largely determine their effectiveness. Snow tires provide better traction and stopping ability in winter driving conditions, and summer tires supply a superior grip on dry and wet roads. However, most people use all-season tires year-round for their ability to combine the best of both worlds. Remember to check the tire tread regularly and replace your tires when they start wearing out. The tread can be measured for free at a local auto shop.
Signs of Bad Brakes
Schedule brake service as soon as possible if you notice any of these problems:
- Unusually abrupt or slow braking
- Spongy brake pedal
- Chirping, squealing, squeaking, or grinding sounds coming from the brake pads or discs
- Wobbling, vibrating or scraping sensations while braking
- Car pulling to one side while braking
- Burning smell while driving
- Fluid leaks when slowing down or while parked in the driveway
- Illuminated dashboard brake light
Brake Maintenance Tips
Find a reliable mechanic to help you service and repair your brakes. Here are some of the steps involved in routine brake maintenance:
- Check the brake power: A brake meter or tester measures the power at each wheel. You need brake repair if one is weaker than the rest.
- Check the brake fluid: Make sure the level isn’t low due to a leak or other factor.
- Check the brake pads for wear and tear: The typical lifespan is 15,000 miles. However, on the streets, it can wear out much faster than freeways and highways.
- Address malfunctioning brake lights: Usually, replacing a burned-out bulb resolves this problem.
- Flush the system: Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and absorbs water. This requires the brake lines to be flushed and refilled about once every six months to two years.
All Tune and Lube offer excellent, cost-effective brake service in La Habra, CA. Our ASE Certified Master Technicians treat all brake maintenance and repair jobs with the diligence and attention to detail they require. If you notice signs of bad brakes or determine that it’s time for a system flush, please contact us at 714-871-4144 to schedule brake service with us today.