Many of us drive every day, without giving much thought to the fact that our brakes are the only things keeping us from a crash at 60 miles per hour or more. And while they might not be the part of your vehicle that made you fall in love with it, regular maintenance is vital to your safety.
How do my brakes work?
The brakes of your car work much like the brakes on a bicycle. They’re comprised of a main hydraulic system with brake fluid, attached to a set of clamps – called calipers – that come together on the rotor. When you press the brakes, these calipers squeeze the rotor, and the friction is what stops your car.
The brake pads are between the caliper and the rotor, and need to be replaced roughly every few thousand miles, depending on your driving habits. If the brake pad wears down too far, the calipers start to wear on the rotor, which is much more expensive to replace/repair than your brake pads.
How can I tell if I need a brake pad replacement?
On each brake disk, there’s a device called a wear indicator. It contacts the rotor when the pad reaches a low level of wear, and you’ll hear a loud squealing noise when it’s time to change the pads.
You shouldn’t wait for the noises to start, though – it’s fairly easy to check the level of your brake pads on your own. Look between the spokes of your wheel, and you’ll see the metal rotor inside. The brake pad should be visible between the rotor and the caliper — it should be about a quarter of an inch thick. (If you can’t see through the spokes of your wheel, you can check the pads by removing your tire.)
If your brake pads are too thin, or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, stop in and let our technicians take a look:
Squealing or grinding sounds
Vibrations on normal braking
Having to press the pedal to the floor to stop
All of our locations perform brake pad replacements, and rotor replacements if necessary. Find a location close to home here.