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Preparing for Winter Driving
Truth be told, your vehicle brakes take a beating every time you drive. Think about it: these small pads endure huge amounts of pressure, friction and heat to stop several tons of metal from hurtling forward, over and over again - it's a wonder they last as long as they do. Even so, brake repair or replacement is inevitable at some point; the key is to get the brakes serviced at a reliable auto repair shop before they actually fail, in order to avoid extra expense and safety risks.
The good news is that in most cases, if you're paying attention, your car will give you fair warning that the brakes are wearing out. Here are six symptoms to watch out for.
1. Brakes squeal when applied
In most vehicles, a metal shim begins sounding off at the first sign that the brake pads are getting too thin, creating a high-pitched squeal or screech when the brakes are applied. If you take the car in for auto repair when you first hear this sound, chances are only the pads themselves will need replacing. If you procrastinate, the brake job will cost you more.
2. Grinding sound when stopping
When you hear a growling, grinding noise when applying the brakes, it's usually being caused by the calipers making direct contact with the brake drums or rotors - metal on metal. (This is often the sound you hear when you've ignored the brake squealing we mentioned above.) It typically means the drums will have to be replaced along with the brake pads.
3. Lots of play in the brake pedal
As a general rule, the thinner the brake pads are, the further you have to depress the brake pedal before the brakes start working. If you notice lots of play in the pedal before the brakes take hold, it may be time for brake replacement. Similarly, if your brake pedal begins to give way unexpectedly during stops, it may mean there's air in the brake line.
4. Pulling to one side when brakes are applied
If the car pulls or drifts to one side or the other when you're braking, it can mean one of two things: either the brake pads are worn unevenly and are working better on one side than the other, or there are problems with the brake fluid. In either case, it's worth having the vehicle checked for brake issues.
5. Shaking when braking
Do you feel the car vibrate or shake when you apply the brakes? Sometimes this happens because one or more of the brake drums has become warped. This can be a safety issue because the brakes are making contact inconsistently, lengthening the time it takes to stop. If you feel this vibration, have the brakes looked at.
6. Look at the brakes yourself
If you're not opposed to looking under the car yourself, take a look directly at the brake pads. If they appear to be less than ? inch thick, you should consider replacing them, even if you aren't experiencing any of the other symptoms we mentioned.
For quality auto maintenance, service and repairs in Mountain View, the experts at The Car Doctor are known for their reliable workmanship and their obsession with customer satisfaction. For a free estimate on brake replacement or other auto repair needs, they can be reached at (650) 492-6853 - and be sure to check their online specials for additional savings.
The Car Doctor Blog
Written & Published By MORBiZ