When you press the brake pedal, fluid is forced through lines that run to each wheel, causing pads to squeeze against rotors or shoes to push against drums to cause friction that slows the wheels. That’s a simplified description, but here’s what you need to know about brake maintenance and why it’s important.
Why do brakes need to be inspected or replaced?
Their performance depends on friction, and the involved parts wear down. The friction material on the pads and shoes wears away, and the rotors and drums can be damaged by worn pads/shoes or warp under hard use and the heat generated by friction. Maintaining and replacing those parts should not be ignored, because the longer you drive with worn or inadequate brakes, the worse the performance you will get—and it just may prove more expensive when you finally take action.
The brakes shudder and shake when I step on the pedal. What’s wrong?
The disc rotors could be warped, creating an uneven surface as the pads try to “grab” them. Even if that’s not the cause, shaking and shuddering under braking can affect braking performance and the condition should be examined immediately.
I heard a squealing sound for a while, but it went away. Does that mean the brakes are OK again?
No! The squeaking/squealing sound was caused by wear indicators built into the disk brake pads as they rubbed against the disc rotor. That means there was only about 1/16 of an inch of pad material left. “Burning” through the wear indicators so they no longer make noise (because they were worn away) means you have less than 1/16 of an inch of pad material to shop your vehicle. Have the brakes inspected immediately.
Why is it more expensive to repair the brakes if I wait a while?
That’s not always the case, but as the pads or shoes wear beyond their usable life, they can dig into the disc rotors or drums, generating damage that could have been avoided. With regular inspections, you may only have to make periodic pad or shoe replacements, which is typically much less expensive than replacing the rotors, calipers or drums.
But aren’t all brake jobs expensive?
They don’t have to be. Replacing only the pads can prolong the life of other brake components. Douglas Automotive Repair Inc can check them and measure the life left in the pads. We can also suggest a variety of value-priced brake-parts options to fit your budget.
Give us a call today for your brake inspection!