No matter the time of year, if you are operating a motor vehicle the ability to stop is always extremely important. You don’t need to know every single part of your braking system and how it functions but you need to understand the signs that your vehicle gives you when it needs proper maintenance. The list below is offered as a reference guide for the questions that we hear most often from our potential customers. Hopefully, you will find value in these answers and as always, feel free to stop on by, our inspections (which include a full brake inspection) are only $10.00.
- Your Brakes Are Squeaking or Squealing: This is your car’s impression of nails on a chalkboard. This indicator usually presents itself the opposite of when you might think. It actually squeals when you are driving but goes away when you press the brake (though it can be at any time under the right circumstances). Some brakes have a sensor built in to prevent things from degrading to the point of grinding. As you drive and apply the brakes day to day, you wear down the brake pads exposing the indicator a.k.a. “the squealer tab”. As it touches the rotor disc, it makes a high pitched sound that alerts you, and everyone at every red light you approach, to the important fact that you need to repair or replace parts.
- Your Vehicle Pulls To One Side When Braking: Pretty hard to miss this one. If your car veers toward one direction or the other when applying the brake you need to have your brakes inspected at once. It is usually a sign of the braking system working on one side and, has seized, either partially or completely on the other.
- Your Braking System Has Metal-To-Metal Grinding: This is an unmistakable sound. As soon as you hear it, you immediately feel as though you have done something wrong. This is the sound of your brake pad coming in contact with the rotor. Usually, you have the brake pad serving as the contact surface with the rotor to slow your vehicle, but in this instance, your brake pad has most likely been completely depleted from your braking over time and there is nothing left. There should be zero question about what your next move should be when you hear that sound. But, this sound carries an additional layer of urgency. When you have two metal surfaces with that much friction, your braking system will be exposed to thousands of metal shavings that can make a simple brake and rotor job, much more expensive. You can expect costs to almost double your cost for a brake job easy by driving around with a metal-to-metal braking setup.
- Steering Wheel Or Pedal Vibrations: Most often this sign surfaces when you apply the brake and it feels like you are going over a series of small speed bumps. Depending on the severity and the urgency of the job needed these can become violent enough to shake your keys in your steering column (Yes, Millenials….cars still have those.) Your brakes are tested vigorously against a mandated set of standards to make sure that they can withstand even the most lead-footed driver. That said, nothing lasts forever. The way that your brakes show signs of wear can present itself on any part of your braking system. Some parts can warp under the intense pressure and friction causing the entire assembly to shake. That may sound scary, thats because it is. Well, the physics of it all at least. No matter what shaking the entire braking assembly for an extended period of time is a recipe for problems down the road.
- Excessive Brake Dust: Even if you take great care of your braking system you will have to contend with and remove brake dust. Though brake dust accumulates over time, when you notice either a very large increase in the amount of dust (be careful not to mistake this for just regular dirt) and can leave a permanent stain on the surface of your wheel. You need a good process to remove brake dust and you should always remove it as soon as possible. It comes from the dirt, dust, sand, and in some cases metal shavings from your braking system. The deep discolorations and pitting that come with leaving brake dust on your wheels can only be treated in some cases by full wheel replacement. The worst part of it is, it will not stop until you take action and repair the brakes that are depositing the excess on your wheels.
After doing thousands of braking system inspections and repairs, we have seen just about every scenario that you can think of. One thing that always stays the same throughout our years is that the customers that delay getting their brakes serviced, tend to need more parts and labor when the times comes to actually get the work done.
Brace yourself, here comes the sales pitch 🙂
We have the team in place to inspect your braking system from end-to-end. We give you the facts about what your vehicle needs, a recommendation if you need repairs, a shuttle to keep you mobile, and options to pay for it all over time.