Do Your Breaks Need to be Repaired? | Manuel’s Body Shop Blog
Any problems with your car can be frustrating. Often, you may want to avoid these issues. While some car troubles can be put off for tomorrow, or the next month, failing brakes is not one of them. Brakes are not meant to last for many years, so regular maintenance is needed. But, when they do go out, it’s essential for your safety and the safety of the other motorists on the road that you repair your brakes as soon as possible. Even though you may treat your car with the utmost care and concern and get an oil change every 1,500 miles, your brakes may still fail. But, how do you know they are failing, and what can you do about it? There are many reasons why your brakes may have troubles, so the manufacturers designed your car to give many signs before your brakes fail. Some reasons include: – Infrequent or poorly done maintenance. -Little to no brake fluid. – Worn brake pads or rotors. – Undiscovered damage from a random source. – Injury from extreme weather conditions or road salt if you live in a cold climate. – Strain from a heavy trailer or RV If you have pulled a heavy trailer or RV that doesn’t have brakes, this extra weight can put immense pressure on your car’s brakes and cause them to overheat. Extensive damage can occur if you don’t ensure your trailer or RV has its own braking system.
So, what are some signs your brakes are damaged and in need of repair as soon as possible?
1. High-pitched Squealing
Your brakes should be silent. If you hear high-pitched squealing, scratching, scraping, or a grinding sound. Many manufacturers design brakes to squeal before they are worn out as a safety measure.
It’s important to know that once your brakes start to grind and growl, the damage is in an advanced stage. Grinding occurs when the pad on your brakes is completely worn out or when there is rust present. When you hear grinding, it’s time to take your brakes into an auto body shop. Grinding is the sound of your car’s steel rubbing against your rotors, which means your brakes are not usable. If you continue driving your vehicle with squealing, or even worse, grinding, it will take you longer to stop and lead to damaged rotors. With more driving, your rotor can become warped, and once your rotor is damaged, your brake repair will be a lot more expensive.
But why is rotor repair so expensive?
Brake rotors are large discs located inside of your car’s wheels. When you use your brakes, the brake pads push against the rotors, slowing their rotation, and therefore your vehicle. Rotors are supposed to be smooth and of an even thickness. After your wheels have turned thousands of times, your brake rotors may develop inconsistencies in their thickness, less smoothness, and rust. To fix this, an automotive technician must carefully smooth out these flaws and restore your brake rotors to their previous functioning. This complex process must be done to the exact specifications of your car. If the thickness of your brake rotors is off by mere thousandths of an inch, or three sheets of paper stuck together, you will feel shaking whenever you apply your brakes. Luckily, heading to your neighborhood auto body shop in Culver City will save you lots of money – we even offer FREE Estimates.
3. Odd Movements and Feelings
If you have to strain to keep your car centered, this is a sign your brakes are failing. “When your vehicle yanks to the left or right as you stop, one side of your brakes are working better than the other,” says James Solomon, Defensive Driving Course director at National Safety Council.
A tell-tale sign of failing brakes is shaking. You may feel shaking when engage the brake pedal or in the steering wheel. These are bad signs, but a worse sign is if your entire car is shaking. If you are stopping or driving at a certain speed, and your whole car shakes, the damage has progressed. This increased damage may be due to long-term use of degraded brakes or a more widespread issue. Any shaking of your car means you need to take it to your local body shop. The longer you wait, the more expensive your repair will become.
5. Delayed Stopping
Properly working brakes should stop your car nearly immediately. When there is a delay after you press your brakes, your vehicle needs to be seen by expert technicians who can diagnose and repair your brakes.
6. Warning Lights
These are excellent red flags because your dashboard will tell you that something is wrong with your brakes. There are two lights related to your brakes–the ABS light and the Brake System light. Both of these lights give you some direction on the problem and will help your mechanic diagnose the issue. The Anti-Brake System (ABS) light is related to your “Anti-Lock Braking Computer.” This light does not turn on often with most makes and models of cars. It is tied to certain safety features. In some cases, you will see the ABS light turn on is when you suddenly brake or when your computer issues a code. When you brake suddenly, the ABS light will turn off after you begin driving regularly. It lit up only to notify you that your anti-brake system engaged momentarily to keep you safe. But, when you see this light in other situations, it could mean your anti-lock braking computer is sending out an error code. At this time, your car needs to be looked at by a highly-trained technician who can determine the cause and reset your anti-lock computer. The Brake System light is triggered in three different cases: when your parking brake is engaged, when you have low brake fluid, and once in a while when there is an issue with your ABS computer. The parking brake is a simple fix that you can do yourself (make sure it’s fully released), but the other issues need a thorough and experienced technician to get you back on the road, safely.
7. Burning Smell
If you smell a pungent, chemical smell after repeatedly braking on a steep road, your brakes or clutch are overheating. You should pull over, check to make sure your parking brake is completely released, and let your brakes cool. If you don’t do this immediately, your brake fluid will boil and could cause your brakes to fail. If you see smoke wafting from any of your wheels, this could mean that you have a stuck brake caliper. It may be unsafe to keep driving your car.
8. Sensitive Brakes
If you tap your brakes and your car jerks to a stop, this could mean you need a brake fluid exchange or that your rotors have unevenly worn down.
9. Insensitive Brakes — or a brake pedal that hits the floor
When you engage the brake pedal, it should stop before hitting the floor. Vehicles with auto braking systems usually stop 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the floor, and manual brakes stop 3 inches from the floor. If your pedal is touching the floor or the resistance of your brake pedal seems “softer,” it is a sign you need to see a top-notch auto body shop, immediately. You may be leaking brake fluid, have air or moisture in your braking system, or a broken master cylinder. Brake fluid is one of the most critical aspects of your braking system. It creates the pressure needed to stop your car and rarely evaporates. When you have a leak, it is imperative to get it fixed, because a leak can be a safety hazard for you and other motorists. Scheduling an appointment with your most trusted auto repair shop in Culver City is vital.
10. Screeching even After you Purchase new Brake Pads
With older pads, this screeching noise usually means you need new pads, but if you have just changed them, and they are still squealing, you may have glazed rotors. Glazed rotors are due to excessive braking, which leads to the heating and burning of the metal on your rotors. If you look at your rotors and see a dark ring or blue marks, you need to head to your local auto body shop. Please remember that slamming on your brakes after going high speeds is awful for your rotors. If you notice any of these problems, it is highly recommended that you proceed to your local auto repair shop. If you happen to live in Culver City or neighboring areas, Manuel’s Body Shop has trained specialists to make sure that your breaks are efficient and working properly. Properly working brakes are crucial to your safety and the safety of those around you. Your brake repair should only be performed by the most-skilled automotive technicians.
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