Keeping your car running properly is important. A car that is serviced regularly gets better fuel economy and is much more reliable than one that is not. But servicing your car is more than just changing the oil every few months. One area often overlooked is the brakes.
When Do You Service Your Brakes?
If you are driving around with brakes that are making noise or squealing every time you push the brake pedal, you have waited too long to have them serviced. The noise you are hearing is more than likely the metal backing plate from the pads or shoes scraping on the rotors or drums. That sounds means that damage is being done to the brakes and is more than likely going to cost more to fix than if they had been served before they got to that point. The breaks should be inspected with every oil change and tire rotation so that if they are getting overly worn, you can catch them in time to change them.
How Do The Brakes Work?
Most modern cars have a system of disc brakes on the front of the car and drum breaks on the rear. Though discs are becoming more common on the rear as well. The system uses a metal rotor that slides onto the wheel studs behind the tire. Attached to that is a caliper that holds two pads on either side of the rotor. When the brake is applied, the caliper pushes the pads against the rotor creating friction and slowing the car down. Drum brakes work in a similar way but use shoes that apply pressure to a drum that they ride inside. If the pads or shoes are worn down to the metal, they can not provide the stopping power that the friction material that was on them did.
Getting The Brakes Serviced
If you push the brake pedal and it pulses, feels soft, or makes a loud grinding noise, take the car in for service. Even if you had them inspected recently, a pad may have come loose from the backing plate or some other part in the system may have failed. The brakes should be checked as soon as you suspect a problem. Letting it go can cause a total failure of the brakes, creating a dangerous situation that may make it impossible to stop the car. A great running car is not going to get you too far if you can't stop it when you need to.
Schedule a brake inspection for more help.