Things to know about your vehicle’s brakes and brake service.
A good running car is important, but even more important than keeping your car running is keeping it stopping. You should always make sure that, in an emergency situation, your car’s brakes are able to handle the daunting task of bringing thousands of pounds of metal to a halt in time to avoid a collision.
What if a young child darts out in front of your car while you’re driving down your street, or you’re flying down the highway and all of a sudden traffic comes to a standstill within a few hundred feet? A car that cannot start is an inconvenience, but a car that cannot stop is dangerous.
Your car not starting could cost you valuable time and lead to some unfortunate consequences, but a car at speed when its brakes fail could easily cost a human life. Some brake problems are best handled by professionals while some can and should be done at home, but every car owner should at least know how to notice when their vehicle is showing signs of trouble. Regardless of your skill level, our trained mechanics can work with you to keep your car performing to the best of its abilities and in the safest possible condition.
There are a few simple tests that you can try yourself to see if your brakes need servicing:
- Start your engine, but keep your car in park or neutral on a manual transmission, with the parking brake engaged. With the vehicle stopped, depress the pedal.
- If your pedal feels spongy, you most likely have air in your brake lines.
- If your pedal sinks easily to the floor, your master cylinder may be defective, which could cause sudden brake failure. This is very dangerous and should be fixed immediately.
- Release the parking brake and drive around your block, testing the brakes to see how they feel.
- Pay attention to how much effort is required to stop your vehicle.
With power brakes, the vehicle should stop while the pedal is more than an inch from the floor, and on older cars without power brakes, it should be at least three inches from the floor.
- If your car has power brakes but takes an unreasonable amount of effort to stop, you may need to replace your power booster.
- If your brakes feel weak and pumping the brake pedal makes them feel more responsive, they either need an adjustment or are running low on brake fluid.
- If your brake fluid is at normal levels, there may be a more serious problem. At ExperTec Automotive, we can thoroughly inspect, diagnose, and repair your brakes before they put you, your passengers, or your fellow drivers in danger.
- Most cars’ brakes are self-adjusting, but if any components of the self-adjustment system get stuck or break, they will wear out faster and need adjustment or replacement.
- During normal driving, take note of how your brakes feel and perform.
- If your vehicle is taking longer than usual to stop, it either needs brake adjusting or new brake linings.
- If your vehicle pulls to one side during braking, you may have a stuck brake caliper and/or your brake fluid may be leaking.
- If your brake pedal pulses during normal braking in a non-emergency situation, your brakes may be overheating.
- If your steering wheel shakes while braking, your front brake rotors may be warped and in need of replacement or refinishing.
- If your brakes squeal, they may be worn out or you may be missing a part.
- If your brakes grind, they are most likely seriously worn and you should stop driving immediately, as you are likely to cause much more expensive damage and put yourself and those around you in danger.
Never neglect your brakes.
If your vehicle shows any of these symptoms, call us today to make an appointment. Nobody likes the trouble and cost of an accident, or even worse causing serious injury or death to yourself or another person, so keep yourself safe by keeping your brakes in the best condition possible. If you think that your brakes may need service or would like our professional input, call ExperTec Automotive today at (714)-848-9222 to schedule an appointment. Protect the safety of yourself, your family and friends, and everybody else on the road!
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