Is It Time to STOP and Have Your Brakes Checked?

We all rely on the brakes every time we drive our cars, or rather, every time we stop our cars. Whether you drive just around your neighborhood most of the time, or long distances on the freeway, you have to be able to stop the vehicle safely. But maintaining the brakes includes several different services, done much more often than many people realize.
Most cars today have disc brakes and their brake systems consist of the following parts:
• Brake Pads
• Brake Lines
• Discs (or Rotors)
• Master Cylinder
• Caliper
Brake Pads – It’s time to have the PADS checked! Pads are the part of the system that gets changed most often. The pads are the cushion between the discs, or rotors, and the calipers, the part that pushes on them to cause friction and stop the car. A general guideline to follow is to have your brake system overall checked every 10,000 miles. If you live in a very hilly area or someplace where you drive over rough terrain weekly or even daily, you should have them checked more often than that.
Brake Lines – The brake fluid in the brake lines is the other thing that gets more regular treatment and replacement in your brake system. It is critical for keeping the system working properly. Sometimes it simply needs to be changed or flushed, similar to how you have the oil changed in the car.
Rotors – The rotors are protected by fresh brake pads, but if the pads get too worn down, they can start to affect the rotors, causing wear in them. Wear in rotors in characterized by deeper grooves or pits, and can be seen during a standard inspection by a mechanic.
SQUEEK! Listening to your car is always a good idea. If there is a squeeking when you hit the brakes, it is a good idea to have them checked. If your car or the wheel of the car vibrates a little when you brake, that may also be a sign you need your brakes checked.
Pulling to one Side – Sometimes if a break line has a leak, and one side gets low on fluid, the brakes on one side of the car will be more effective than those on the other side. This causes the car to pull to one side upon braking, which is another warning sign that something may be wrong and need attention.
Do the brakes feel right? – If you have to apply the brakes and push way down before the car starts to slow down, or the opposite, you barely touch them and they are braking, you may need to have them checked. Don’t leave “mushy” or “spongy” brakes too long – it could be your brake pads that need replacement. And if you don’t change the brake pads when they are due, you can develop more costly problems, like damage to the rotors.
Schedule an appointment today to have a maintenance check on your car’s brake system at Bell Union Auto Service by calling 602 788-7600. Or pull in to one of their locations in North Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, and North Scottsdale. Our mechanics can check all the various parts of the system and make sure you are safe, because braking is crucial. Contact us today.

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