Car Maintenance Tips: Brakes

August is the last month of the Summer. It’s also the last month of holidays before students go back to school. It’s also a month many people like to take their holidays in. Whether you are taking your holidays in August or not, it’s probably a good time (it’s always a good time!) to do a quick check up to make sure your car brakes are ready for the challenge.

Brake pad wear
On many vehicles, you can check your brake pads by looking through the spaces in the wheel rims. If the outer pad is less than ¼-inch thick, the pads need to be replaced. The longer you wait, the more you risk causing expensive damage to other parts of the brake system.

Squealing, screeching, scraping or grinding noises
When your brake pads get thin, a metal wear indicator on the pad emits a high-pitched squeal that lets you know it’s time to have your brakes checked (before any damage is done). But if you hear the grinding or scraping sound of metal-on-metal, it could mean you’ve waited too long and you’re damaging the rotors every time you brake. Get to a service station as soon as possible.

Decreased stopping power
If the brakes are “mushy” or feel like they’re sinking to the floor when you press on the pedal, you might have a leak in the air hose or brake fluid line.

The car vibrates or pulls to one side when braking
While these symptoms have a variety of possible causes, they could indicate warped rotors, uneven wear on the brake pads or other brake-related problems that need to be addressed by a trained mechanic.

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