August is Brake Safety Awareness Month. Use this time to bring your vehicle in to Meridian Automotive for your free brake inspection.
Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.” It sounds like he understood that your brake system is at the top of the list when it comes to vehicle safety.
The Car Care Council started the Brake Safety Awareness Month campaign to make sure all motorists understand how important it is to have routine brake inspections. Routine inspections of the brakes ensure that you know when you need a brake service or repair so you are never in danger of having them fail when you need them most.
The life span of your car’s brakes depends largely on the type of car you own, how you drive, and the degree to which you use your brakes. The Car Care Council recommends having your brakes inspected at least once a year as some brakes can last as long as 70,000 miles before they need replacing or care, whereas others may only last around 25,000 miles.
When you have a brake inspection done at Meridian Automotive we will do a visual inspection of your brake system and let you know what -if anything- is going on. Here are some common brake symptoms to look out for:
- Brake pedal feels mushy or spongy
- Brakes are squeaking, rubbing, or grinding
- Car pulls to one side or another when using the brakes
- Brakes vibrate when you push on them
- Brake pedal has to be pushed all the way to the floor
- A brake warning light that stays on
*If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should bring your vehicle in right away and have your brakes checked.
Failing to pay attention to brakes that need to be fixed or replaced can put yourself and others on the road at great risk for accident and injury. If your brakes fail or falter when you need to stop, you are more likely to get into an accident. Failing to address the problem can also do costly damage to your braking system and your car if you don’t replace or fix components of your brakes when necessary.
There are two main types of brakes: disk and drum.
- Disk brakes- made up of a disc brake rotor and a caliper that houses the brake pads.
- Drum brakes- made up of a brake drum attached to the wheel, wheel cylinder, brake shoes, and brake return springs. These are more common on the back wheels.
Both brake types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes to slow the vehicle. These components are made of a material that is tough enough to endure the heat and force that is created when you stop your vehicle. However, over time they will wear out and become overly thin, and they will need to be replaced. Should you fail to replace them, and they wear away completely, it can cause damage to the rotors. If this happens then the rotors will likely need to be replaced as well. Not only is this a dangerous situation, as your vehicle won’t stop quickly, but it is also expensive. Brake pads come in different grades; good, better and best. The higher grades do cost more but allow for smoother operation and a better braking performance. You can upgrade your brake pads, but NEVER use a grade that is lower than the one recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This information can be found in your owner’s manual.
A brake service at Meridian Automotive will not only go over the pads, shoes, and rotors, but will also include a brake fluid check. When you do not have enough brake fluid in your vehicle, there will not be enough pressure for you to brake properly. It is also possible for water to build up in the brake fluid leading to corrosion, leaks, and brake damage. With hard use, your brakes could fail. The brake fluid should be changed at the regular service intervals set out in your vehicle’s owner’s manual to avoid these outcomes.
Never gamble with brake care. Your safety and the safety of others relies on proper brake maintenance. If at any time you experience any of the above issues, or you are unsure if there is a problem with your brakes or not, we invite you to visit us at Meridian Automotive. We are happy to help you with any brake or other automotive repair needs you may have. Please call us at (208) 297-553, or schedule your appointment here.