Brakes: Maintaining your vehicle’s brakes is one of the most important safety precautions you can take as a driver. Properly maintained braking systems can mean the difference of life and death when driving. Like other parts of today’s vehicles, brakes have evolved from primitive mechanisms of a block of wood pressing against the wheel to sophisticated technological wonders with anti-locking hydraulic systems. Similar to the rubber pads that squeeze together on a bicycle tire to slow the wheels, brakes on vehicles operate on the same principle using either a disc or drum system to slow the wheels.
Mike Tibbetts, service manager at Desert Car Care McQueen in Gilbert, AZ, said there are three clear indicators that it’s time to have a professional check your brake system and all its parts, from pads to drums/cylinders to fluid levels. Desert Car Care McQueen offers free brake inspections, so don’t hesitate to call us at (480) 497-4787 or book online if any of these symptoms show up in your vehicle:
A vibrating steering wheel when you apply the brakes. When you push down on the brake pedal and you feel the steering wheel or vehicle shake, this could indicate several possible issues, none safe. Common causes for the shimmy could be dirt or rust on the brake disc, a thin spot on the rotor or an uneven rotor. Take the vehicle into your mechanic and trained brake technicians will locate which of the four brakes is causing the issue and suggest repairs to solve the problem.
Squeaking or other unusual noises when you step on the brake. While older systems used metal throughout, newer vehicles have ceramic brake parts so the tell-tale squeal of worn brakes is not so pronounced. However, “there is still are still squeaks” when brakes are not working properly, Mike notes. “Any unusual sounds can be an indication there is something wrong,” he said. In addition, most vehicle brakes are designed to make a squeaky noise so motorists know it’s time to get the brakes replaced. Remember, squeaky brakes need attention as soon as you notice it.
Spongy brake pedal. If you slam your foot on the brake pedal and it goes all the way to floor and doesn’t seem to catch quickly, then that’s another clear indication that your brakes need attention. Typically this means there is air in the brake lines, possibly as a result of your brake fluid getting low.
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