Brake Service, Care and Maintenance
There are certain parts of your vehicle that can't wait until they're worn out before you replace them, and among these the brakes are probably the most critical. Without regular brake service and maintenance, the brakes can fail, endangering you and everyone around you. Your brakes should be checked every so often by a qualified automotive repair shop, and the pads should be replaced when they wear thin. In the meantime, by practicing some simple preventative maintenance, you can ensure that your brakes remain in proper working order so you can stay safe on the road.
Do a visual check of the brake pads
Every so often, perhaps when you're checking the oil and fluid levels on your car, you should do a visual check of your brakes. Look behind the wheels at the thickness of the brake pads—they should be at least 1/4 inch thick or greater. If they appear to be thinner than this, take the vehicle to an auto repair shop for a more thorough brake inspection.
Check your brake fluid
On occasion, it's a good idea to open the brake fluid reservoir and look inside. Your brake fluid should remain within 1/4 inch or so of the top of the reservoir. If it looks low, top it off. Also, note the color of the brake fluid—if it's dark or yellowed, rather than clear, it should be replaced. (Some experts recommend replacing the brake fluid every couple of years as a preventative measure.)
Watch for symptoms of worn brakes
If you're paying attention, your car will often tell you if the brakes need work. It's time to take the car for brake service if you notice any of the following:
- Squealing/screeching brakes. Many cars are designed with a metal shim that makes this sound when the brake pads are thin.
- Growling or grinding when braking. This usually means the brake calipers are making contact with the drums or rotors.
- Lots of “give” in the brake pedal. When brake pads are thin, you must push the brake pedal further to get the brakes to work.
- Vibrations or “pulling” to one side while braking. This is frequently caused by uneven brake pads or by a warped rotor.
Be aware of your mileage
Most brake pads are designed to last between 30,000-70,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer and the quality. When you install new brakes, make a note of their expected mileage span, and take the car for a brake inspection when you reach that mileage point, regardless of whether you see any signs of wear.
For quality, affordable auto care in Everett, O.N.B. Automotive is a family-owned, independent automotive shop with a 15-year reputation for stellar service and quality repairs; for trustworthy brake service and other auto care needs, they can be reached at 425-317-9618.
O.N.B. Automotive Blog
Written By Brian Corey
Published By MORBiZ