One of the most essential parts of any automobile on the road is its brakes. But when it comes to brake inspections, brake repairs and brake pad replacement, many road users remain uninformed on both the importance and frequency of carrying out these vital maintenance aspects.
The Importance of Brake Inspections
Brakes are found on just about every form of motorized transport and they all serve the same purpose – safety. Each day you set off in your car, you're entrusting your life and the lives of those around you to a machine.
Along with tires and suspension, brakes are some of the most critical components of automobile safety. Manufacturers spend sizeable amounts of money on perfecting each car's braking systems, with high-performance and sports cars utilizing honed brake systems to ensure that their rates of deceleration match acceleration.
As with any finely tuned system, time, combined with wear and tear, means that brake inspections are required from time-to-time. With each application, parts such as the brake pads and rotors (also known as brake discs) get worn. Meanwhile, brake fluid, just like oil, needs to be replaced periodically.
A brake inspection will determine if your brakes are working well or need a brake repair. In doing so, you ensure your car's braking system is working at its optimum, with the added peace of mind that your car's anchors won't let you down when you most need them.
What Happens During a Brake Inspection?
When you hand your car over to a qualified individual, what happens and what is checked? Let's break it down.
Most brake inspections start with the first point of contact: the brake pedal. The brake pedal is inspected for height and free play. The pedal height is the distance it sits at rest from the floor, while free play measures how much travel is present before the brakes are actually applied. Discrepancies may indicate a problem in the pedal assembly or return spring.
The next things that are checked are the brake cylinders, lines and fluid. Brake fluid should be replaced and flushed every year for the optimum operation of your braking system. The cylinders, lines and reservoir will be inspected for leaks and moisture. As brake fluid is hydrophilic, any water present will reduce the efficiency of the brakes.
Last but not least are the brake callipers, rotors and pads. These components are crucial in determining how much life you have left before your vehicle has to undergo brake repairs. such as brake pad replacement. In doing so, your mechanic will remove each wheel to inspect each brake rotor or drum physically. The rotors' thickness will be measured, with a visual inspection of the brake pads/shoes and callipers made as well.
If a brake pad replacement is required, it is necessary to either replace the rotors or resurface them — something any well-equipped automotive workshop will be able to do easily. This is also an excellent time to check and adjust your handbrake.
Tips to Avoid Premature Brake Wear
When it comes to your car's brakes, it's essential to understand that some seemingly innocuous actions behind the wheel can have a bearing on the longevity of your car's brake discs and pads.
Riding your brakes is a number one contributor to frequent brake pad replacement. Riding your brakes is the term given to the excessive and extended application of brakes when unnecessary.
An excellent example of brake riding would be when descending a hill, using only your brake pedal to limit the speed. By continually applying the brakes in such a manner, you will end up overheating the pads and discs, which, in addition to wearing out these components faster, can have potentially dangerous consequences. Overheating brakes will also risk you triggering "brake fade." Brake fade is where the brakes become progressively less effective due to excess heat.
One way to avoid this when descending a hill is to change down into a lower gear if you're driving a manual transmission car, or use an Automatic's low-gear option, usually indicated with a number (such as 2 or 3), or a letter such as L (Low) or B (Engine Braking).
Another sure-fire way to avoid premature brake wear is to pre-plan your driving actions. This doesn't mean checking Google Maps for the best route, but instead means that you drive anticipating the road and surrounding conditions. For example, letting off the accelerator in advance and coasting before applying the brakes to stop. The idea is to avoid sudden application of braking, which will also benefit fuel economy.
Visit Certified Auto for Your Brake Inspections
At Certified Auto, we carry a wealth of experience in brake inspections, brake repair and brake pad replacement. We specialize in keeping your vehicle running well and always make sure to prioritize your safety. Our comprehensive inspections and services can help give you peace of mind on the road, while our trained mechanics are always on hand to explain and clarify any questions you may have. Many experts recommend that brake inspections are carried out at least once a year.
Call us today to learn more about our wide range of mechanical and service options on 778-741-0151, or visit our contact page to book an appointment online.