Most days we’re so busy going from one place to another and if all is going well, you probably never take a second thought about your braking system and all that is entailed in making it possible for you to avoid collisions and accidents. Clearly, your brakes are the most important safety system you vehicle has. An improperly maintained or neglected braking system will not be able to perform the way they were meant to which means they may not be as effective when needed, especially in a panic situation when you need to make a sudden stop.
- Braking Power. Your front brakes make up 70-75% off your stopping ability. If you’ve seen the front brakes and rear brakes you’ll notice that the font brakes are always considerably bigger than the rear brakes. From a physics point of view, because the center of gravity moves forward when you’re stopping and the majority of the forces involved are focused on the front, there is a tremendous amount of friction generated which also means a lot of heat. Up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The rotors up front need to be bigger to be able to handle the heat and be able to allow the heat to disparate into the air.
- Fluid Servicing. Brake fluid needs to be serviced every 30,000 miles. Brake fluid absorbs water through microscopic holes throughout the system and as the water content increases, the boiling point of the fluid decreases and this not only will diminish the stopping ability of the system but over time the moisture in the system can cause corrosion and rust on the inside of the brake lines which can lead to a very dangerous situation.
- Brake Boosting. The pressure of your foot pressing down on the brake pedal is not enough force to stop your vehicle. All vehicles use some sort of booster, older vehicles use pressure created by the power steering pump whereas newer vehicles use an electric booster. All three systems multiply the force you put into the brakes making it far easier for you to stop your car.
- Noises. You shouldn’t hear any noise coming from your brakes, in general. If you hear any noises at all such as squeaking, squealing, grinding, knocking, whining, groaning ect., don’t wait to see if it gets better, have your brakes checked out immediately by a qualified technician. Emergency braking or hard braking on loose surfaces may engage the ABS system and that can create a noise when it activates that can be described as a buzzing, grinding or groaning.
- Vibration. You should feel constant pressure when applying the brake pedal. If you feel a pulsation in the pedal or in the steering wheel or in the vehicle, especially when coming to a stop, it may from warped rotors which can easily be caused by overheating. If you are feeling a vibration, have it checked out. Please be aware that ABS activation can also be interpreted as vibration as well, but in this case it’s normal.
- Inspect Every 6-10,000 Miles. You should have your brakes checked at every other interval for an oil change. We recommend at test drive by a qualified technician and then a visual inspection of the pads (and/or shoes), the calipers, rotors (and/or drums), wheel cylinders, hardware (springs and adjusters), hoses, parking brake cables, fluid condition, and master cylinder fluid exchange. All of the components need to be in good shape to ensure that your brake system will be 100% effective.
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