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12
JAN
2015

Brake – ing News!

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When you’re driving along with the heaters turned up & the music on it’s easy to forget that you’re in a massive chunk of steel and glass hurtling through space at 60-plus miles per hour.

Brakes may not be the sexiest part of a car, but they’re certainly one of the most crucial. We can help you to identify the subtle warning signs that indicate a need for service. Of course, there are some obvious signs that your brakes need servicing, such as the brake light appearing on your car’s dashboard or the feeling that your vehicle is taking longer to stop than it should. In either case, come see us for some expert advice.  But do you know what the other signs are that could indicate an ailing brake system?

If, after reading this post, you’re still not sure or if something just feels not quite right, call in & see us, our team will be happy to take a look.

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Brake Pads

Over time the brake pads will begin to wear thin, which means they’ll become less effective at slowing and stopping your car.

Fortunately, checking the thickness of your brake pads – that squeeze down on the calipers – is a straightforward procedure. All you need to do is look between the spokes of your wheel to spot the metal brake pad inside or remove the wheel for a really good look! When you find it, look around the outer edge where you’ll see the metal caliper. Between the caliper and disc, you’ll see the pad. You’ll have to estimate, but generally, your pads should be at least one-quarter of an inch thick. If they’re any thinner than that, book in for new discs.

Strange Sounds

One of the warning signs that your brakes need servicing can come from a small indicator in your braking system that emits a high-pitched squeal when your pads need replacing. In addition to the squeal from the sensor, you’ll also want to listen for a harsh grinding sound. This means that you’ve gone completely through your brake pads and now, when you apply the brakes, the metal of the calipers is grinding against the metal of your discs. Not only is this an ineffective way to stop your car, chances are good that you’ll also damage your disc, thus turning a relatively easy and inexpensive pad replacement into a more costly disc replacement.

Pulling

Has your car ever felt like it wants to pull to one side?  If so, this could indicate a problem with the braking system. The cause of this pulling might be a stuck caliper. Because such a scenario would cause friction on one wheel and not the others, your car can pull to the side where the caliper is stuck.

Two other brake-related scenarios that could cause a car to pull would be a collapsed brake hose that would cause your calipers to move unevenly when applying the brakes, or uneven brake pads, which would also apply different amounts of pressure to different wheels.

Pulling, however, doesn’t always indicate a problem with the brakes. The cause could also come from unevenly inflated or worn tires, poor alignment or a problem with your vehicle’s suspension. This is why, if your car begins to pull, bring it in to us so we can check the problem out.

Vibrations

If you’ve ever had to do an emergency stop, then you’ll know the feeling of rapid brake-pedal pulsing that comes from the quick grabs the system applies to the discs to slow the car. However, if your brake pedal pulses in this way under normal braking circumstances, you could have a problem.

Generally, a vibrating brake pedal can indicate warped discs. Their uneven surfaces will thrum against the brake pads, and you’ll feel the feedback through the brake pedal.  Discs usually only warp when they’re under extreme stress for an extended period.  If you haven’t stressed your brakes recently, but you still feel vibration in the pedal, you may have misaligned wheels. In either case, come see us for a diagnosis.

In addition to thrumming, your brake pedal can give you other indications that your car’s braking system might need examining.

A mushy pedal, one that goes practically to the floor before engaging the brakes, could indicate worn pads or a problem with the hydraulic system.  The opposite of a mushy pedal is one that causes the brakes to grab immediately at the slightest touch. This could indicate an unevenly worn discs, dirty brake fluid or contamination of the fluid by moisture.

We hope this mini guide has helped but don’t forget if you’re unsure of anything or would just like us to look over your car for your own piece of mind call us on 0113 277 4712 to make an appointment or call in & see us.

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