Your brakes are one of the most important systems for accident prevention. Brakes are your first line of defense when it comes to avoiding collisions. This is why it’s so important to take good care of your vehicle’s brakes by consistently performing scheduled maintenance. August is Brake Safety Awareness Month, so we at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission want to make sure you’re informed about the best way to monitor the condition of your brakes.
Your braking system is made up of generally six components: pads (shoes), rotors (drums), calipers, lines, master cylinder and ABS controller. Luckily, most of these parts last a long time. The parts of your brakes that need the most routine maintenance are your pads and rotors. Pads and rotors are the wear parts of the braking system. So, having regular inspections is necessary to assure you have adequate braking material on both. Also, routinely check your brake fluid which is what powers your brakes, by providing the force to stop your tires movement. During routine maintenance, the brake fluid, brake pads and rotors should all be checked. You can also check your brake fluid and pads yourself in between visits to your mechanic.
When should you change your brake fluid? A quick way to check the condition your brake fluid is to check it for color. Brake fluid is a clear fluid with no color. If you see any color in your brake fluid, it would be a good time to get your brakes serviced. Manufacturers and automotive experts are all over the place when recommending how often to change your brake fluid. Honda recommends every three years, Ford every 45,000 miles, Chevrolet is every 60,000 miles and some resources recommend every year. The truth is to check your vehicles owner’s manual to determine what is recommended for your vehicle. At Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission we recommend brake fluid change any time the hydraulic part of the braking system is breached. What that means is if you are doing something other than pads and rotors to your braking system, like replacing a caliper or a line we recommend replacing the fluid as well.
Always use high quality brake parts. The higher priced brake pads and rotors are worth the extra money. They do a much better job of dissipating heat, have better stopping power and produce less of that nasty black dust. Change your brake pads before they are used up. What this means is you want to err on the side of caution and replace pads before they get so low, they are damaging your rotors. Rotors generally last a lot longer than brake pads. So, use the best pads you can afford and change them before they get too low. Rotors are much more expensive to replace.
Routine maintenance can take you a long way but feel and listen for signs that may indicate something needs immediate attention. Brakes as they wear will start to make sounds. Most brake pads have wear indicators that will screech when your brake pads need replacement. Another big indicator is when a warning light on your dashboard display turns on. By the time you see that light, however, it may already be too late. Your brakes might also begin pulling your vehicle to one side or stuttering as you press down on them, which can indicate they need to be replaced. Finally, if it becomes hard to apply pressure to your brakes or if they are less responsive than normal, there could be a problem with your brake system. At that point it is best to get every component checked for leaks, wear and damage.
During August, take time out of your summer plans to have your car’s brakes inspected. Visit Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission to receive advice on the proper care and maintenance of your brakes. In the event of a sudden stop, it is the best protection for you and other drivers on the road.