Some people do not think of their brakes until they hear a squealing sound coming from the bottom of the car when they step on the brake pedal. Your brakes are just as important as the electrical system or any other system of your car and they play an integral part in the safety of your car and of the other drivers on the road. Since these are the parts that stop the car, you should make sure that you understand the basics of your braking system and warning signs that will alert you that something is wrong and needs to be addressed immediately.
Parts of the Brake System
The brake discs are large, circular discs that should have a shiny appearance from the outer edge to the inside. With normal wear, they would appear to have lines on the surface. If you notice deep gashes and gouges in the surface, then you should replace them immediately. This means that the discs have been rubbing against another metal piece and created those grooves. These grooves can cause it to crack if you keep driving with them. Brake discs should be replaced in pairs so they will wear evenly. The brake pads are located at the top of the disc and have a layer of padding that rests against the disc. When you step on the brakes, the pads are pressed and clamped against the disc to stop the car. The pads wear over time and if you spend a lot of time in the car commuting or traveling, the pads will wear out quicker. If you notice less than one-eighth of an inch on the brake pads, replace them. The brake lines are not lines but hoses that carry the brake fluid through the braking system. If the hoses are rubber, the texture of the rubber should be able to bend, but not brittle. If the hoses are metal, make sure they do not have corrosion.
Warning Signs of a Problem
If you notice that you need to press on the brake pedal more firmly than previous times, it might be time to replace the brake pads or you may be low in brake fluid. It is better replacing the pads at this stage is easier than having brake repair later when further damage occurs. If you ignore the worn pads and continue to drive, you will begin to notice a grinding sound that is accompanied by a slight shuddering motion of the car when you press on the brakes. At this stage, the damage is occurring to the brake disc as the metal from one side grinds against the metal of the other side. The grinding could cause the disc to crack and the result would be a collision with another car or a pedestrian or a building.
Avoiding Brake Repair and Saving Money
Regular maintenance will help you to avoid brake repair and you will save money. The money you can save will also reach over into the gas tank. Good brakes and a healthy car can help you increase fuel efficiency and your car healthy. You will be able to engage in your springtime activities all throughout the season.