If you rarely consider the importance of brake maintenance then now’s a good a time as any to start. You rely heavily on your vehicle’s braking system but probably don’t realise how vital it is to keep a close eye on the basics of brake servicing.
Most garages use brake cleaning systems like our aqueous brake cleaner to thoroughly cleanse vehicle brake components during system maintenance and overhauls.
Stay on top of brake maintenance and you can drive your car in confidence knowing that when you need to stop, whether this is gradually or quickly in an emergency, your vehicle will come to a rest on command.
Brake parts prone to wear
- Brake Discs
- Brake Pads
- Brake Shoes
- Brake Calipers
Most modern vehicles are equipped with brake callipers, brake discs and brake pads. When the driver applies the foot brake, hydraulic calipers gently squeeze the brake pads against the discs, causing friction, and gently slowing the vehicle down. Over time brake pads start to wear. The more the pads are used the more they wear, after a while they reach a lower limit and have to be replaced. If the pads wear too low they can score the discs, which in turn will also have to be replaced.
On some older cars, the braking system consists of wheel drums that are slowed with the application of brake shoes. Just like brake pads, when the brake shoes start to show signs of excessive wear they will need to be replaced before they score the inside of the drums.
Brake pads and discs work in harmony together, if one part fails it can affect the other so good maintenance of both the brake discs and the pads is essential throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.
Brake callipers are generally hardy parts but they can fail with age and show signs of leaking or in the worst case scenario, they can seize. Having the brakes checked as part of routine maintenance should help to highlight any problems and ensure the callipers, pads and discs are still in good condition.
Signs that brake parts are wearing
- Nuisance noises – Unusual noises under braking are a good indication that all is not well with the braking system. This could be a squeal or a grinding noise that suggests further investigation is required.
- Vibrations – Juddering under braking is another sign that your brakes are in need of a little attention. If you experience steering wheel wobble when you apply the brake this could indicate the disc is scored or warped.
- Brake Warning light – If you have a vehicle that is fitted with a brake warning light this will display when there’s an issue with the brakes. If this light illuminates, get your brakes checked as soon as possible.
- Loss of brake fluid – In some cases, you might experience a loss of brake fluid which should cause the brake warning light to illuminate on your vehicle’s dashboard. You can try topping up the fluid levels but this is normally an early warning that something isn’t right, again, get your braking system checked over if this happens.
- Overheating – When brakes overheat they can start to experience a symptom known as brake fade which dramatically affects their effectiveness and performance.
Make sure your brakes are checked during routine vehicle servicing. If you feel something isn’t quite right when you apply the brakes, have them looked at by a qualified mechanic.