It should be pretty obvious to all drivers that brakes are an essential factor in making sure your car is safe to drive. But for some reason, all too many drivers are complacent about keeping up with brake inspection, repairs and preventive maintenance. Brake pads wear down relatively quickly (especially in automatic transmissions, which are far more common -- on the used car market, they outnumber manuals 10 to 1), and they need to be replaced before more extensive damage is caused to the brake rotors themselves. Brake fluid is also essential. A recent car maintenance survey found that 18% of vehicles had contaminated or low brake fluid. That can lead to total brake failure.
The good news is that the brake pad service doesn’t cost much. Also, there are often brake inspection and service specials throughout the year. If you are uncomfortable with the upfront cost, you need to remember that brake maintenance should cut down on brake repairs. And even the cost of brake repair is nothing compared to the costs, both financial and emotional, of a car accident.
How can you know if you need a brake inspection? Here are seven signs the Car Care Council recommends looking out for:
Even if you aren’t seeing any of these symptoms, brakes should always be part of your annual inspection. Car and brake inspections are a modest cost. Also, when compared to your overall investment in your vehicle, and they can keep you safe and save you money in the long term. And since there are around 87,032 auto repair shops in the U.S., you really have no excuse for skipping preventive measures.
How often do you invest in brake maintenance or brake repair? Join the discussion in the comments.