Don’t Leave Your Brakes to Chance
What is the most important safety component on a car? If you guessed anything other than brakes, I respectfully disagree. It’s the one part of your car you simply cannot afford to short-cut. Out of all jobs an amateur DIY can do to their car, this is one job best left to professionals. I am not just saying that to keep my shop busy (lords knows I am busy), I am saying it because your car always needs to be able to stop reliably. I have been servicing brakes for most of my life. It is one of my specialties. I would argue, braking is the most important part of driving. When your brakes become worn out and weakened there are warnings signs you are probably aware of. In case you’re not, here are the signals to watch for when your brakes need servicing:
- Dashboard Brake Light– In newer cars there is a brake light usually in your instrumentation.
- Emergency Brake– if you leave it on, the same (or a similar) light will appear. This is telling you your emergency brake is on.
- ABS Warning Light– If your car has ABS (anti-lock-braking). There can be other problems that may arise throughout the system. In these cases a warning light will illuminate somewhere in your dashboard.
- Listening & Inspecting– If you are hearing strange sounds like a grinding or squealing sound, take a look at your brakes. If you can see or feel (after cooling brakes) problems, it’s time for servicing.
- Feeling worn & Pedal has more cushion– Sometimes your brake pedal may develop a jittering (vibration) motion when applied. You may also notice your brake peal travels further to the floor. You guessed it, time to service those brakes.
- Misdirection– When under braking, your car may drift to the left or right. That is a sign of uneven brake wear or a damaged braking system.
Get More out of your Brakes
There are precautions you can take that will add life to your brakes. Most of it is common sense but I am amazed the number of car owners that let their brakes grind away.
- Fluids– Check your brake fluid levels regularly.
- Tire Pressures– Make sure your tire pressures are even and proper.
- Front End– If any front end components like ball joints, bearings or struts are damaged, it can wear on your brakes.
Making your car stop in a hurry cannot be left to chance. Maybe you’ll never have to do it.
Hopefully some of these tips keep you away from people like me a little longer J.