Whether you use your car multiple times a day or only drive once a week to save on mileage, properly maintaining your brakes is among the most crucial steps to conserving the life of the vehicle, as well as your own. Aside from the obvious knowledge that if your system fails at speeds of 60 miles an hour, you won’t be telling many tales about it, your entire automobile runs more smoothly when all components are in good working order.
Just like when you get sick, there are symptoms your automobile will display as its brakes near the end of their lifespan. Any odd noises such as grinding or squealing when you stop are indicators that your pads may need to be replaced. Likewise, if you’re finding that your car takes longer and longer to come to a full halt, this may mean there are some wear and tear, or those calipers need to be tightened. The indicator on your dashboard is an excellent way to tell if there is an issue, and when it lights up it should never be ignored. The most common reason for this light to ignite is that fluids are too low and should be refilled.
All of the liquids that reside in your car should be checked frequently for low levels and tarnished quality, but your brake fluids, in particular, require extra care and should be replaced as they change from clear to brownish in color. Most mechanics will recommend that this change takes place every 2 to 3 years depending on the year and brand of your vehicle; others suggest swapping it when you reach 20,000-30,000 miles. If you’re unsure about your particular ride, check your owner’s manual for specifics, as it can vary based on make and model.
Your calipers, which house the pads and pistons of your vehicle, may require periodic lubrication from time to time to prevent corrosion due to weather and chemical elements such as salt on the roads. If they aren’t cared for regularly, they may seize up and create a lean in your driving, which can cause dangerous swerving and extra damage to the hardware that surrounds them.
Similar to the care required for calipers, if you fail to service brake pads before a problem occurs, the entire repair process can become more expensive and cause extra damage to ulterior hardware. As your disc-shaped pads are used during stopping, they grind together causing friction and the eventual corrosion of materials. When enough friction has occurred, the discs can be completely burned out and the metal of your car will be grinding against itself in an effort to halt; this causes more problems that could have been avoided if the action had been taken in time.
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