Springtime is like a magnet that draws children outdoors to frolic in the warmer weather when it is not raining. There have been many people who have had to suddenly stop because a child ran out into the street to chase a puppy or a ball. Had it not been for good brakes, regular brake inspections, and brake repair, this situation could have ended tragically. If there are children in your neighborhood or your household, safety should be of the utmost priority. Knowing the basics of brake repair will help you be prepared for situations over which you have no control and you will be better able to relate to the information provided by your mechanic if you hire one.
Inspection is the Foundation of Brake Repair
Before you can make any repairs, you have to know the extent of the problem. The first part to inspect should be the brake discs. These large, circular discs should have a shiny appearance from the outer edge to the inside. The surface of a disc with normal wear would appear to have evenly spaced and sized lines on the surface. If you notice deep gashes and gouges in the surface, this means that the metal discs have been rubbing against each other. These grooves weaken the disc and can cause it to crack under continued use. Brake discs should be replaced in pairs to make sure that they wear evenly and provide a safer driving experience.
Brake Pads are Important, Too
The next thing to inspect would be the brake pads. They are located at the top of the disc. The pads have a layer of padding that rests against the disc. When you step on the brake pedal, the pads are pressed and clamped against the disc to stop the car. The pads wear over a relatively fast time and increased usage of the brakes will wear the pads out quicker. If you see less than one-eighth of an inch of cushion on the pads, you should replace them. You should also check the brake lines, which are hoses that carry the brake fluid through the braking system. If the hoses are rubber, the texture of the rubber should be supple and not brittle; if the hoses are metal, they should be free of corrosion.
A Note About Brake Fluid
One important task that is rarely considered is having the brakes drained and refilled. While most manufacturers recommend that this should be done every two or three years, you should make sure that you consult your owner’s manual for the recommended timeframe. The brake fluid is the substance that lubricates the brakes and keeps moisture from accumulating in the hydraulic system. Moisture leads to rust, leaks, and blockages. This fluid needs to be replaced in order to keep the brake system clean and unobstructed. If the fluid is not changed, it could form blockages in the brake lines. Clogged brake lines leads to decreased pressure and your brakes can become slow to respond and eventually fail. Your mechanic can perform this function for you and can even include it in your spring general car maintenance program.