Brakes | Brake Service
Brakes are one of the most important components on your vehicle. You want the confidence knowing that when you hit the brakes on your car it’s going to stop when you need it.
Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced. For routine maintenance, check your vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.
If your car is pulling to the left or right, or if you hear odd noises when you apply the brakes, you should inspect your brakes. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing.
Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair, such as letting the brakes get to the “metal-to-metal” point, which can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill.
“A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle operation and control under a variety of driving conditions,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake system problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair.”
Here are a few reminders to help you keep your brakes functioning properly.
- Have your brakes checked at least once a year, or more often if you drive frequently in city traffic or live in a hilly area like Lynchburg.
- Always remember to take the parking brake off before you leave.
- Never drive with the parking brake on.
- If you hear a scratching or grinding noise when not braking, this also can be a sign of a brake or bearing issue and should be inspected immediately.
- If you experience shaking or vibration during braking, have them checked. (In most front-wheel drive mini-vans this happens more frequently due to the additional weight and load on the front brakes and pads.)
- Have your brake fluid tested and replaced as needed and if you have to add fluid more than once every few months, you may have a leak.