March 9th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
A car brake inspection is important, particularly when it comes to collisions. If you get your car’s brakes inspected, you can identify brake problems before they escalate. As a result, you can lower your risk of car collisions.
How Often Should You Have Your Braking System Checked?
When it comes to determining how often should brakes be inspected, car owners often have varying opinions. There is no “required” schedule for car brake inspections, and car manufacturers offer different brake inspection recommendations for their vehicles.
Ultimately, getting your car’s brakes inspected at the same time the tires are rotated is typically a good idea. Tire rotations are usually recommended at every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or approximately every six months. If you get your brakes inspected at this time, you could address any tire and brake issues simultaneously.
Of course, if you hear squeaking, squealing, or other noises any time you use your car’s brakes, you should get them inspected right away. There is no need to wait to receive a brake inspection, especially if you hear strange noises when you use your brakes. So, err on the side of caution and get your brakes inspected any time you believe there may be a problem.
What to Do If Brakes Fail
If your car’s brakes fail while you’re driving, try not to panic. Downshift your vehicle into a lower gear, and pump the brakes fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure. If the brakes still do not work after you pump the brake pedal three or four times, use the parking brake to slow down and stop your car.
Apply your car’s parking brake gradually. Your vehicle will likely skid, but it will eventually come to a stop if the parking brake is working properly.
If none of your car’s brakes are working, steer your vehicle in a safe direction until it stops. When steering, try to avoid obstacles.
You should also honk your car’s horn and activate your hazard lights in the event that your brakes stop working. This warns other drivers about your car problem and helps reduce the risk of collisions and accidents.
Once your car comes to a complete stop, put your vehicle in park, and signal for help. Next, you should seek out an auto mechanic who can inspect and repair your brakes.
How to Perform a Car Brake Inspection
Although handling a brake inspection is most effective when done by professionals, if you want to check for early issues, there are several brake system components you need to consider, including:
1. Brake Discs
Your car’s brake discs should appear shiny, and some may have minor lines on them due to everyday wear. If you notice rough spots or grooves on either of the brake discs, both should be replaced at the same time. This ensures both of your brake discs will function properly, and it limits the risk that a defective brake disc could compromise your car’s brakes down the line.
2. Brake Pads
Your car’s brake pads are located near the brake discs. The pads touch the discs, and if the majority of one or both pads appears to have deteriorated, both pads should be replaced immediately.
3. Brake Lines
The brake lines are rubber-coated lines that often appear soft when they are performing at peak levels. Yet, brake lines can sometimes become cracked and rigid. And in these instances, the brake lines need to be replaced.
Keep an eye out for metal brake lines, too. If you drive in snowy areas where chemicals are frequently used to treat roads, metal brake lines can corrode. In these cases, you need to replace the brake lines.
How to Prevent Car Brake Issues
Regular car maintenance is often the best way to minimize the risk of defective brakes. If you evaluate your car’s brakes at regular intervals, you can immediately detect and address brake problems.
There are various ways you can get the best performance from your car’s brakes and lower your risk of brake issues, too. These include:
1. Don’t “Ride” Your Brakes
If you frequently “ride” your brakes, you apply excess pressure to them, which can cause the brakes to overheat and wear down. So, follow the rules of the road, and use your brakes appropriately when driving. If you apply moderate pressure to your car’s brakes when you need to slow down or stop, you could reduce your risk of experiencing severe brake problems.
2. Downshift on Steep Hills
It sometimes helps to downshift on steep hills, but only when the road conditions are good. This allows your car’s engine to take the pressure off your brakes while you drive.
3. Clean Your Braking System
Clean your car’s brake discs and pads regularly. Both brake discs and pads can be cleaned with brake cleaning fluid applied with a dry cloth.
If you’re uncertain about the condition of your car’s brakes, visit an auto mechanic for an inspection. In doing so, you can ensure your brakes are working correctly and repair or replace defective brakes.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto 17th Street, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the San Francisco area.