The brakes on your car are very important and need to be a priority when it comes to maintenance. Many shops offer a free brake inspection if you feel there is something wrong with them or would like to have them checked. Read on to learn more about brakes and brake maintenance.
On most modern cars and light trucks, the front brakes use a system with a rotor and calipers that slow the vehicle by squeezing the rotor between the brake pads on the calipers when you apply the brakes. The system is extremely efficient, but over time, the pads will wear, and the system can begin to underperform. Disc brake service should be anytime the brakes start to feel soft or are making noise when the brakes are applied.
Pad and Rotor Repair
As the friction material wears off the pads, the steel backing plate that the material is glued to can start to make contact with the rotor, making a loud scraping noise and damaging the rotors severely. During the brake inspection, the technician will check the thickness of the friction material and the condition of the rotor and let you know if they need replacing.
Sometimes the rotors can be resurfaced when you take your car in for disc brake service. The technician working on the car will remove the rotors and put them on a machine that will grind out any ridges in the braking surface so that the pads have a smooth surface to grab when you apply the brakes. Installing new pads on a damaged rotor can cause uneven contact between the pads and rotor and lower the brakes' effectiveness.
Soft Brake Pedal
The brake pedal in your car should have a solid, firm feeling when you apply the brakes. If the pedal feels soft or spongy, it is a good indication that the vehicle needs to go in for brake service. Often a soft pedal is a result of air in the system from a leak or low brake fluid.
The system should not have air in it at all. If air is entering the system, it is crucial to remove the air and find out where it is coming from so that it can be repaired. If there is a leak, the fluid will eventually drain out of the system, and the brake will stop working altogether.
If you suspect you have a leak or the pedal feels different from usual, take the car in for brake service. The tech can check the fluid leave and determine what is going on with the brakes before you have a failure.