Q: How often should I have my brakes checked?
A: We recommend having your brakes checked every 6 months or 6,000 miles or if you suspect any problems at all. Here at BRAKEmax we offer a FREE brake check, we also check your brakes with every oil change if requested or during a tire rotation. Everyone’s brakes wear differently depending on the way they drive and their driving conditions.
The typical brake system consists of disc brakes in front and either disc or drum brakes in the rear connected by a system of tubes and hoses that link the brake at each wheel to the master cylinder. Other systems that are connected with the brake system include the parking brakes, power brake booster and the anti-lock system. When you step on the brake pedal, you are actually pushing against a plunger in the master cylinder, which forces hydraulic oil (brake fluid) through a series of tubes and hoses to the braking unit at each wheel. Fluid can be directed through many twists and turns on its way to its destination, arriving with the exact same motion and pressure that it started with. It is very important that the fluid is pure liquid and that there is no air bubbles in it. Air can compress which causes sponginess in the pedal and severely reduced braking efficiency. If air is suspected, then the system must be bled to remove the air. There are "bleeder screws" at each wheel cylinder and caliper for this purpose.
What's included in our brake service
- Free complete brake inspection
- Replace pads or shoes
- Lube calipers and hardware
- Machine drums or rotors
- Test drive
- High-pitched screeching sound when you apply your brakes
- If your vehicle "pulls" to one side while braking
- Grinding or growling
- Vibration or pulsating brake pedal
- Your brakes are not as responsive as they should be or if the pedal "sinks" toward the floor
Professional Brake Service in TucsonPosted June 7, 2011 12:38 PM
Brakes really aren't optional equipment. And taking care of them isn't optional either.
A regular brake inspection is on every car's maintenance schedule. An inspection will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you're having trouble with your brakes, get your car into a BRAKEmax service center right away. Meanwhile, watch out for these problems:
- Low or spongy brake pedal
- Hard brake pedal
- A brake warning light that stays on
- Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
- Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes
There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that's attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Brake pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.
There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor which can lead to the rotor needing to be replaced and that can be expensive. Putting it off is dangerous because your vehicle won't stop as quickly or can fail completely. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.
Brake fluid is also important. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. If the fluid gets low enough it can let air into the system and in turn, will not allow enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends it.
There are different grades of brake pads. There are organic, metallic, and ceramic - higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It's OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that's lower than what the manufacturer recommends.
Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it's a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Tucson area body shop after an accident.