Maintaining Brakes to Avoid Repairs

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It’s important to keep your car running well, but keeping your brakes working well is perhaps what keeps you and others on the road safe. Maintaining your brakes is of course a matter of safety, but it can also help save some money. Neglecting problems with your brakes can turn a simple issue (worn out brake pads) into a much more expensive one (damaged rotors). If you do have a problem, the brake experts at Advanced Computer Automotive are well prepared to deal with all makes and models, foreign and domestic.

You should have your brakes inspected if you notice these signs:

  • Your brake system warning light is on
  • You hear a squealing or grinding noise when braking
  • You feel your steering wheel vibrate while you’re driving
  • You notice a burning odor, or metallic flakes peeling off the brakes
  • You notice changes in how the brake pedal feels, whether it gets harder or softer to push
  • If the car pulls in one direction or shakes when you brake

So those are the signs to look out for, but there are a couple of things you can do to avoid costly repairs. One is to regularly check and replace your car’s brake fluid. Brake fluid is used to absorb the heat produced by braking, so it helps prevent excessive wear on the different parts of the braking system. Over time braking fluid can absorb water, so it should be replaced every two years or so.

Your car’s brake pads are also something that should be checked regularly to prevent more extensive damage from being done. Brake pads are one of the three main parts of disk brakes, along with calipers and the rotor. Over time, the friction used by the brakes to slow your car will wear down the brake pads. Brake pad manufacturers state that pads should generally last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.

The brake pads are the component that wears down first, and braking with completely worn down brake pads causes damage to the rotor (which is much more expensive to replace). You should pay attention to any squeaks or squeals you hear when braking, as this is one of the signs that the pads are worn too thin. Some cars have a warning light on the dashboard that is triggered once the pads are worn past a certain point. Brake pads can be inspected visually, though this usually means removing the tires. If the pads are thinner than 3/16ths of an inch, they need to be replaced.

There are a few factors that can increase the wear on your brakes. One that is particularly relevant to Southern California drivers is driving in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. Towing trailers or campers is another common source of increased wear, as is driving in hilly areas.

Advanced Computer Automotive is the place drivers in Long Beach, Signal Hill and Lakewood trust to inspect their brakes. Give us a call at (562) 421-1905 to schedule an appointment or to find out more information.