Brake Services and Repairs

Hearing Strange Noises When You Stop?
You need BigMechanic! -

Brake service and repair is obviously one of the most vital aspects of your vehicle’s maintenance routine. Although all elements of your car’s design are essential to its safe and proper performance, a brake malfunction is the fastest, most direct way of jeopardizing your safety on the road, and any problem with your brakes should never be ignored. Here are several common brake problems, what mechanics do to repair them, and the possible consequences of not getting them repaired.

If you experience a scraping, whining, or grinding noise when the brakes are applied, the most likely culprit is worn brake pads. As these components are consumable and will eventually wear out, this problem will happen to all cars eventually if they aren’t serviced on a preventative basis. Fortunately, it’s a quick fix; your mechanic will simply replace your pads. To help keep track, it’s a good idea to ask how much wear you have on your brake pads any time you have your car in for an oil change. If you’ve installed oversize tires on your vehicle (on a pickup truck for example), also make sure that they aren’t rubbing against the chassis or body. To not replacing your pads, they would eventually wear through to their metal backing, requiring costly replacement of the caliper.

Another common issue on all makes and models is a brake pulsation or shake in the steering wheel when brakes are applied. Any warping in the surface of your rotors will cause your brakes to vibrate upon actuation, as the pad makes inconsistent contact with the rotor. Rotor warping can be caused by excessive heat or, less commonly, the rust that would accumulate from prolonged disuse. In both cases, your mechanic will either replace or resurface your rotors. Resurfacing or “grinding” is less expensive, but the rotor must exceed a minimum specified thickness or be replaced. Ignoring this problem would result in uneven braking power, not to mention a distracting shake in your steering wheel.

If the brake pedal has a spongy feel, or if you have to depress it fully to activate the brakes, proceed directly to a mechanic. The hydraulic actuation of the brake system is not working, and you have a potentially life-threatening malfunction. There could be air in the brake system, in which case the lines should be bled. If the level of brake fluid is low, there could also be a leaking hose or gasket, which would be replaced. In the case of a suspected leak, don’t hesitate to have your vehicle serviced – each time you press the pedal, you are effectively pumping brake fluid out of the leak.

These are just three of the most common problems that can manifest in a vehicle’s brake system. If you have specific questions about your vehicle, or are experiencing a suspected malfunction, talk to a qualified mechanic right away.

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