Did you know that your vehicle needs its brakes serviced like every other part on it? Let us discuss the braking system on your vehicle and why it is important to service your brakes.
Brakes like all other parts on your vehicle need to be serviced regularly. Which is why when brakes are recommended on your vehicle it is best to start planning for the future for your vehicle.
Firstly, let’s discuss what makes brakes so important on all vehicles.
What makes a vehicles brakes important?
Brakes are an important safety factor for all makes and models. If a vehicle cannot stop properly, then it puts the driver and everyone else on the road at risk of injury.
When a component of a car fails, it is best to have the vehicle taken (not driven) to a repair shop to have it fixed immediately. Automotive repair shops will always give you a heads up when you take your vehicle to them on what needs fixing now and what can wait.
Brakes are important because they use friction to stop a vehicle in motion to help the driver arrive to their destination safely. They will give the driver a warning light (or message on some newer vehicles) or a verbal sound (like squealing) to alert the driver that the brakes are in need of service.
When you take your vehicle in to get serviced your technician will fill out an inspection sheet that will tell you if you need to replace your brakes or if you can wait. Your service writer will give you a quote for parts and labor for repairing your vehicle and having it back to you in s hasty manner.
When should your brakes be serviced?
The brake pads (the friction material that contacts the brake disk) on your vehicle should be changed if your technician measures your brakes at three millimeters or fewer. This is considered the red zone and should be addressed immediately.
If brake pads are replaced before they hit “metal on metal”, then there is a chance that your rotors can be turned by the technician using a lathe. When they hit “metal on metal” the rotors will have to be replaced as well and will cost more in parts to repair.
When your brake pedal starts pulsating (or vibrating) as the brakes are applied, that does not mean you need to replace your brakes. You should take your vehicle to have the rotors turned.
A pulsating brake pedal means a warped brake disk(rotor) in the rear of the vehicle. If you feel the Steering wheel Shimmy (or shake) as the brakes are applied, then it means that the front brake disk (or brake drums on certain models of cars and trucks) are warped.
It is easy for automotive technicians to turn your rotors.
When you see an ABS (anti-lock brake system) light or if you see the parking brake light remain on in your vehicle, then there is a fault with the braking system and should be looked at by an automotive technician.
What should you do when a technician suggest brakes?
Should a technician or service writer come to you suggesting brakes on your car or truck do not hesitate. Depending on the severity of the brakes don’t wait.
If you are informed that your brakes are between four millimeters and six millimeters (the yellow zone), then you have time to plan for brakes. But, if your brakes are three millimeters or lower, then you should have them replaced right away.
When your technician or service writer comes to you about a problem with your brake system, these warnings should not be left unchecked or shrugged off. It could mean a bigger repair bill in the future if not taken care of right away.
Secondly, I will discuss the 5 reasons why you should have your vehicles brakes serviced. They are very simple to understand.
1. Brake Measurements
Brake measurements should be taken into effect when replacing or purchasing brakes. As stated before, a technician will measure your brakes and fill out and inspection sheet for you the customer to look over.
Measurements between four millimeters and six millimeters require caution and should be looked into in the future ore inspected upon your next service. Measurements below three millimeters should be replaced immediately.
The technician will also measure the rotors to ensure the rotors can be turned. These measurements will be in the form of inches or millimeters (0.000 inches or 000 millimeters).
2. Brake Hot-spots
When your technician recommends brakes due to a hot -spot on the rotors, this should not be taken lightly. Hot-spots are colored blue to black on the surface of the rotor.
These spots are where brake pads “grab and drag” on the rotor causing brakes to fade faster. When you come across this recommendation it is best to replace both pads and rotors of your vehicle.
The reasoning for this is because the hot-spots on the rotors go farther than the surface and are very hard to cut out with a lathe.
After being hardened by the heat of the dragging brakes these rotors are best to be replaced.
3. A light on the Dash
As stated before, if you have an ABS (anti-lock brake system) light or your parking brake light remains on this indicated that there is a problem with the braking system.
The ABS light remaining on indicates that there is a fault with the module itself. This should only be looked at by an automotive technician, as they have the computers to diagnose exactly what is wrong.
A Parking brake light remaining on could be as simple adding brake fluid reservoir. But you should take your vehicle to a repair shop because there are many kinds of brake fluid.
If the light remains on after topping the off the fluid in the reservoir, then there could be a different problem. This should be taken into effect when thinking about a vehicle brake service.
These problems should be diagnosed by a technician.
4. Brake Pulsation
A brake pulsation is when the brake disk (rotors) or brake drums become warped. This happens over time as the brakes remain applied for a long period of time.
The brake pulsation is felt as a shimmy in the steering wheel or a vibration in the brake pedal.
As stated before the steering wheel shimmy is a warped rotor in the front of the vehicle. A vibrating brake pedal means that the rear brake rotor (or drum) has become warped.
As a rotor becomes warped it shimmies side to side while bolted down (or up and down for a drum). The easy fix for this is to have the rotors (or drums) turned on a lathe.
5. Spongy or soft brake pedal
When you start to feel your brake pedal has become soft (or spongy), then you have air in your brake system. The easy fix is to take your vehicle to have the brake fluid flushed.
A brake flush is a common service that allows air to be flushed out of the system. Air in the brake lines causes a soft (or spongy) brake pedal.
A machine is hooked up to the car that pressurizes the brake system with air pressure and brake fluid to force fluid though the brake lines. Then the technician can open the bleeder screws attached to the brake caliper or wheel cylinder (for drums) to allow the air to escape the system.
After this service the pedal will feel more firm.
The brake services concluded.
Various services and problems have been discussed is this topic. It should not scare you into not having your vehicle serviced, but inform you that it is very important to maintain your braking system.
Most of the future problems can be avoided with proper care. A vehicle brake service can help in the long run of your vehicle and can keep you the driver safe on the road.
Keeping these problems in mind will help you in the future to prevent more costly repairs down the road.