Keep Your Car Weight As Low As Possible
The heavier your car, the more force it needs to stop. The more force your brake pads apply, the faster they wear out. This is why heavier vehicles burn through brake pads faster than super light small cars.
You can make things better by offloading anything you dont need on your car each time you go for a drive. Getting rid of extra stuff in the boot or the back seat will make your vehicle lighter.
Lighter cars consume less fuel and are easier on your brake pads.
When Do Disc Brakes Need To Be Replaced
Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
- increased braking distance,
- abnormal noises ,
- different feel of the brake pedal ,
- pulling to one side while braking,
- brake drag ,
- overheating of one of the wheels,
- brake-related warning light staying on.
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Taking Longer To Stop
Another major sign that your brakes need to be checked out is loss of performance when applying the brakes. If you’re experiencing less than ideal stoppage times while applying your brakes, it may mean your brake pads are worn down completely or that your brake fluid is low . For a true understanding of what’s going on with your brakes, you’ll want to get to a brake mechanic as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose all braking abilities.
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Should I Change My Brake Rotors When I Am Changing My Brake Pads
Your car is up on the hoist, the new brake pads are ready to go, but what about the rotors? They wear out over time too and need to be a certain mm thickness in order to be considered safe. If they are still in good shape, and especially if you have modified rotors, you don’t need to change them. They will last you much longer than the brake pads. You can also get your brake rotors resurfaced to help with performance and longevity.
How Long Do Brake Pads And Shoes Last
The real answer to how long brake pads and shoes can last will vary from vehicle to vehicle and from driver to driver. For example, if you tend to drive the most often in urban areas or in heavy commuter traffic, youâll be engaging your brakes a lot more frequently than someone who drives in rural locations or on highways. Some people also tend to âride the brake,â meaning they press and depress their brakes more habitually than other drivers, causing the brake pads to wear away more quickly. Brake pads and shoes are generally thought to be good between 30,000-35,000 miles in urban use. In less demanding situations like highway driving in light traffic, brakes may last 80,000 miles or more.
With a little attention and forethought, it can be easy to know when to replace brake pads and/or shoes on your vehicle.
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Brake Pad Replacement & Rotor Resurfacing
The middle-of-the-road brake replacement option is replacing the brake pads and resurfacing the brake rotors.
Resurfacing your rotors means taking a thin, microscopic layer off of the front and rear face of the rotors. This way, you get a nice, smooth surface for the brake pads to press against.
Resurfacing removes any grooves, pits, or hotspots that could cause problems. It also allows the new brake pads to wear evenly and optimally.
Keep in mind, however, that resurfacing decreases the thickness of the rotors. And the thinner the rotor is, the faster it heats up and wears down. Rotors can usually only be resurfaced once, if at all, before they must be replaced.
Ultimately, resurfacing rotors when you install new brake pads is a middle price point and a good compromise if you dont want to spend more money on new rotors.
Have Your Calipers Inspected
Stuck calipers that keep your brake pads engaged even when you are not using them could cause accelerated wear. This is easy to notice since youll mostly have uneven brake pad wear. After all, youll have to be very unlucky to have all your calipers stuck to the same extent.
Note that a stuck master cylinder could also keep your brakes partially engaged. This is very rare, though.
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When To Get Your Brakes Checked
Unfortunately, there is no precise time or mileage that we can say you will need to have your brakes inspected. That is because the wear on your brake pads and rotors depends on a handful of factors. Some systems will need inspection after 25,000 miles. Others will be fine going 75,000 or more. The trick is being aware of what your car is telling you and knowing when it is time to head over to the shop.
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How To Tell That You Need New Brakes On Your Car
Do you remember when you got your brakes replaced last? On average, drivers should expect to replace their brakes every 50,000 miles. Of course, this number can vary depending on other factors such as whether you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic or over hills. Heres how to tell if you need new brakes on your car.
How Often Do You Change Brake Pads And Rotors
What kind of driver are you?
Do you fly down the road and slam on the brakes when coming to a red light? Do you travel downhill a lot? Could your backseat pass as a storage unit?
Your answers to these questions may help you determine how often to change brake pads and rotors. The truth is, there is no set mileage when brake pads or rotors will require replacement. Your driving habits, road conditions, and the type of brake pads your vehicle currently is equipped with determines the life of your brake pads and rotors and how often replacement is necessary.
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How Often Should You Replace Brake Rotors
Unlike brake pads, rotors are tough and last longer. Ideally, you should have your brake rotors replaced between 50,000 and 70,000 miles.
However, brake rotors are known to last way longer than this especially if you take good care of them. Luckily, all you have to do is ensure that you change your brake pads regularly and brake responsibly to avoid overheating your rotors.
The biggest problem brake rotors encounter is warping or damage to the braking surface.
If this happens, your car will shake, shudder and scratch intermittently as you brake.
Sometimes, your rotors might grow thin to the extent that your caliper pistons still have to extend further even when running new brake pads.
A good mechanic should tell you if your brake rotors are still good to go or need replacement.
Can You Drive With Scraping Brakes
Its not advisable to keep driving with scraping brakes even if your car still stops. You might still drive your vehicle to the garage if you are careful but dont push.
Driving on grinding brakes is risky. The brakes might fail altogether when you need them the most.
Additionally, the metal-to-metal grinding could damage your rotors. It could warp the rotors, damage your calipers or create gouges on the rotor surface. This will lead to a more expensive pit stop than it would have been if you just replaced the brake pads on time.
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How Often Should You Replace Your Brake Pads
Your cars brakes are your first line of defense when it comes to avoiding crashes on the road. In fact, 300,000 car accidents in the U.S. every year are due to brake failure. Keep yourself and others safe by staying on top of brake maintenance and getting them changed when recommended by the manufacturer.
Signs Of Bad Brake Fluid
So what signs should you look out for to know when brake fluid change is due?
1. Color: Color is perhaps the most important indicator of brake fluid quality. A good practice would be to check your fluid appearance every two years. If the color is significantly off from its clear or transparent hue, its time for a change. If it appears muddy or laden with rust particles, have a mechanic inspect your car to ensure secondary issues, if any, are detected and addressed promptly. For the most part, brake fluid changes due to contact with moisture. If youre unsure whether to change your brake fluid or not, an expert mechanic can help you decide.
2. Brake fluid level is low: You probably checked the brake fluid level or saw the dashboard warning light come on. In any case, low brake fluid level should not be taking for granted. This usually occurs when theres a leak in the braking system or after a recent top-up. Ignoring leaks could leave your reservoir with less fluid than is needed for efficient operation, and thus put you at risk of losing braking power.
4. The ABS or Check Engine light turns on: Today, most cars are designed to spot changes in engine function and alert you appropriately, usually by turning on the Check Engine or ABS warning light. If youre running on low brake fluid, a sensor detects this trouble code and triggers the warning light. The computer on your ABS will also detect specific problems and indicate on your dashboard.
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When To Change Your Brakes And Brake Pads
Brake upkeep and maintenance and essential components to keeping your car in tip-top shape. Brakes, and their associated components, need to be looked after in order for them to perform like they should. But sometimes, it can be difficult to know exactly when you need to change your cars brake pads and brakes. Take a look at our tricks for keeping your brakes in good condition.
When Do I Need New Brakes
For some car maintenance items, like oil changes and tire rotations, figuring out how often to come in for service is easy. But with brake repair, there is no common mileage for service.
Industry experts recommend that you replace your brakes every 20,00060,000 miles. Thats a big gap! So how are you supposed to know when your brakes need to be replaced?
Two of the most common signs that your vehicle needs brake work are squealing noises and a vibrating steering wheel. Other signs to look out for are grinding sounds, a spongy brake pedal, pulling to one side when braking and longer stopping distances.
Once you know your brakes need attention, its time to get a brake inspection and figure out which brake parts need to be replaced.
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Understanding The Braking Process
When you press down on the brake pedal, the pressure is amplified by the aid of a hydraulic fluid, known as brake fluid, to create friction at the wheels making the vehicle stop. Depending on your vehicles set up, when the brake pedal is engaged either a lever system, vacuum, hydraulic or electronic mechanism, pushes the fluid to each wheel. The movement of the pressure drives the brake fluid into the brake lines at each wheel. Many vehicles equipped with anti-lock braking systems include a valve that regulates this pressure created to help prevent the brakes from locking up and forcing the car to spin out. Once the pressure is created the brake calipers, or wheel cylinders, force the brake pads or shoes toward the rotor or drum, increasing pressure and friction that ultimately slow and stop the vehicle.
Your Brake Pads Are Very Thin
Some cars have wide-spoke rims that could allow you a glimpse of your brake pads without uninstalling them. If you are lucky, you can monitor their thickness over time and plan a replacement as they grow thinner. If they appear less than 1/4 of an inch thick, its time to get new brake pads.
If you cant see them, make a habit of checking your brake pads every time you do something to your wheels.
This could be when you do wheel rotation or replace your tires. Having someone look at your brake pads when you change your car oil could also make you note worn brake pads before its too late.
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Avoid Riding The Brakes
Keep your foot off the brake pedal unless you want to stop or slow down the car fast. Riding the brakes with the wheels turning increases friction hence wearing your brake pads faster.
Selecting the right gear when driving downhill could also help your car use more engine braking, taking some strain off the brake pads. This has the additional benefits of preventing your brakes from overheating and failing.
Some people, however, argue that overusing the brakes when driving downhill or slowing down isnt a problem since brake pads are cheaper and easier to replace than your clutch or other transmission components.
Squeaking Or Squealing Coming From Brakes
If your brake pads are near the end of their useful life, the first symptom you’ll begin to notice is a squeaking or squealing noise coming from the brakes. Squealing brake pads are typically caused by excessively worn down pads. Once you’ve worn down your pads enough you’ll start to experience a grinding noise, at which time you’ll also begin to damage your rotors, making the cost of repair even more expensive.
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How Often Do I Need To Change Brake Discs
Brake disc source: Frontech Brake
Brake disc replacement is an important car maintenance practice that you cannot ignore. The practice entails getting rid of the old brake rotors and installing the new ones. It is very risky to drive a car whose brake discs are worn down. They minimize the efficiency of the brake system.
Do you know that worn out brake discs can increase the cost of car maintenance? Lets say you continue driving yet you know your brake discs are beyond their lifespan. Other components surrounding the truck brake rotors are also likely to get damaged. Are you a responsible car owner or do you love your car? Taking good care of it should not be something that we should argue about.
When Should I Change My Brake Pads
Any mechanic will tell you that its time to change your brake pads when the lining is in the 3 mm to 4 mm range.
For context, know that the standard thickness of new brake linings is 12 mm. The first half of your brake pads lifespan is usually carefree. As it wears past 6 mm, though, listen for the sign that its time. Brake pads incorporate a metal burr that contacts the rotor at 3 mm, causing a squeal that signals you to service the brakes. Plus, what to do if your car shakes when braking.
Dont ignore this squeal. Ignoring this warning results in damage to the rotors, at first scoring, then overheating, and potentially even warping them as the pads wear to nothing. Ideally, youll catch them before you hear that telltale squeal, so you can save your rotors and budget accordingly. Consider, causes and DIY fixes for smoking brakes.
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Can You Change The Fluid Yourself Or Should You Have A Mechanic Do It
Unlike many simple maintenance tasks that can be do-it-yourself options, brake fluid should only be changed by someone with professional training. There are several reasons why, but it all boils down to brake fluid being more complicated and dangerous to work with than more DIY items such as oil and windshield wiper fluid. There are many types of brake fluids with different ratings and specifications, and they cant be mixed. Its important to make sure the fluid is completely drained and then replaced with the proper type for your vehicle. Another challenge is that brake fluid is toxic and combustible. It must be handled and disposed of properly. A well-trained, professional mechanic will know all the ins and outs of how to handle your brake fluid properly and safely.
The Garage Auto Repair in Broken Arrow prides itself on offering you the quality service and trusted advice you want most when caring for your car. Our trained mechanics are ready to answer any questions you have about brake fluid or any other car-related issues you are concerned about. Well walk you through any work your car needs, and we wont offer you any services that your vehicle doesnt need, because we believe in putting you, our customer, first and making sure you are ready to hit the road safely for years to come.
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