A recent survey found that 77% of cars needed maintenance or repairs. One of the most neglected — and yet most vital — parts of a car to maintain is the braking system. Here are the three things you should keep in mind when budgeting for brake repairs over the years:
- Brake Fluid Checks
Most car braking systems are hydraulic, meaning that the force you exert pressing on the brake pedal is transferred through a liquid in order to apply pressure to the brakes. This is accomplished with brake fluid, which is usually glycol-based.Brake fluid should be changed every one or two years. You should also regularly have your fluid levels checked, since low levels may indicate a leak somewhere in the brake lines (which can cause brake failure). The same maintenance survey cited above found that 18% of the cars inspected had low or contaminated brake fluid.
- Brake Pad Service
The most important factor in caring for a braking system is brake pad service, changing brake pads at regular intervals. Brake pads might last anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. The owner’s manual of a vehicle will give more precise estimates based on the make and model of your car.Failing to change brake pads before they wear down to one-eighth of an inch can cause serious damage to brake rotors; brake service prices are low compared to the cost of repairs, so it’s well worth staying on top of maintenance. Brake service specials are very common, making this essential maintenance even more affordable.
- Brake Replacement
Even with proper care, most brake systems will eventually need replacing. Your technician should inspect the brake rotors and measure their thickness every time you have your brake pads replaced, preventing you from waiting too long on a brake job.There are several other symptoms that should prompt a brake check, even if — or perhaps especially if –you’ve had your brake pads changed recently. These include a high-pitched screech that occurs when you brake, a change in how responsive your car is to pressure on the brake pedal, vibration when you press on the brake, and a tendency for your car to “pull” to one side or the other when braking.
There are approximately 87,032 auto repair shops in the country. Which types do you find give you the best brake service?