5 Keys to Brake Maintenance
Here in Florida, we’re no strangers to rainy weather and wet road conditions. With as much water as we see on the roads, it’s important to make sure your brakes are properly maintained.
Poor brake maintenance not only increases your chances of being in an accident, but also reduces the longevity and performance of your vehicle.
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should come with a recommended brake maintenance schedule. Estimates vary depending on the make and model, but a good rule of thumb is to check your brake pads every 12,000 miles and replace your fluid every 25,000 miles. Aside from that, here are five keys to brake maintenance that will help you stay safe on the roads:
#1) Check Your Brake Pads & Rotors Often
The brake pads and rotors are the point of contact between your braking system and your tires. These elements deteriorate more easily than other components and require more frequent maintenance. Friction between the tires and the brake pads cause heat, and this heat wears down the brake pad. It is important to inspect the quality and depth of the pads to make sure there is enough resistance.
If you need to depress your brake pedal further than usual, smell a burning odor, or the distance it takes to stop increases drastically, it may be time to check and replace your brake pads and rotors. To check your brake pads and rotors at home, you need only remove the tire to assess the wear. If you notice wear or damage, specifically any grooves or indentions, then schedule your repair ASAP.
#2) Monitor Your Brake Fluid Level & Brake Lines
When you depress your brake pedal, pressure builds and is transferred through the brake fluid from the master cylinder, through the brake lines, and into the calipers, which transfer this pressure to the brake pads and rotors. Brake fluid is, therefore, extremely important because it is the messenger between you and your car’s braking system.
If you’re able to see a cloudy, milk-like fluid leaking from your vehicle’s master cylinder (the part that holds the brake fluid) or brake lines, then you’ll need to get this repaired ASAP to ensure the proper use of your brakes and avoid costly complications down the line.
#3) Be Conscious of Your Driving Habits & Environment
How much weight do you carry in your vehicle? Do you have a tendency to ride your brakes more than most people? How frequently and how heavy are you braking? How often do you drive in wet conditions? All of these factors play a part in how long your brakes last.
#4) Pay Attention to Your Dashboard Lights
Newer vehicles have a built-in system to monitor the brakes to be sure they are functioning properly. If the system detects a problem, you may see a “BRAKE” warning light pop on on your dashboard. If you see a warning light like this, be sure your parking/emergency brake is disengaged. If you still see the light when the parking brake is off, then that’s your car’s way of letting you know you it’s detected a problem with the braking system.
#5) Schedule Regular Braking System Care with Action Gator Tire
The easiest way to make sure your brakes are in good condition is to work with a reliable local technician to establish a scheduled maintenance plan based on the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular inspections and scheduled visits allow us to make sure the brake pads, rotors, and fluid are replaced only when needed, saving you money on parts and labor while taking the guess-work of when to replace what out of the equation.