The brake system in a vehicle is made up of more than just the pedal you push with your foot. Brakes include drums, shoes, cylinders, calipers, rotors, and more. Here’s what Master Muffler Ogden recommends you should do to keep your brakes in good shape, and how you should address any strange noises when you slow your vehicle.
Taking Care of Your Brakes
Good driving habits can prolong the life of your brakes, as can the following, routine maintenance steps.
Check Pads and Rotors
At least, annually, have your vehicle’s brake pads and rotors checked by a professional, such as our team at Master Muffler Ogden. Friction and heat are generated when we depress the brake pedal, which subjects the pads and rotors to routine wear. Ensure there isn’t excessive damage to these braking elements, and have them replaced if any is detected.
Flush and Bleed the System
Your brake system may benefit from a routine flush of fluids, or bleeding to remove excess air from the lines. To increase brake efficiency, flush and replace the brake fluid every 25,000 miles or so, depending on your driving habits. When it comes to bleeding the line, you may only need to have this done every three years.
Check Brake Calipers
In vehicles with disc brake systems, calipers are responsible for generating friction within the rotors. It’s recommended that calipers are inspected every two years, or every 24,000 mile (whichever comes first). Calipers should be cleaned and lubricated to ensure they’re working at their best.
Signs Your Brakes are Bad
Hopefully you’ll catch the warning signs that your brakes are bad before you find yourself in any real trouble. If you’re not sure what you should be listening and watching for, here’s some insight from the Master Muffler Ogden auto repair crew.
Thankfully, your vehicle has a warning light for your brakes. Unfortunately, unless you read the code you won’t always know what, specifically, the problem is. Common reasons for the brake light to come on include:
- Low brake fluid
- The emergency brake is on
- ABS issues
- Brake pads need to be replaced
- Brake light bulbs need to be replaced
If you’re unable to identify the cause yourself, make an appointment with Master Muffler today.
If you hear squealing, grinding, or other noises when you brake, don’t roll the windows up and ignore it. These could be signs there’s something stuck in your brakes, the pads are overworn, or the calipers are scraping something.
Vibrations When Braking
The Beach Boys may have good vibrations, but your car doesn’t. Any signs of excessive wobbling or vibrating when braking may be a rotor issue. If the rotors are unevenly worn, friction from the braking system isn’t absorbed as efficiently and you feel it as a result. Additionally, if you feel your vehicle pulling to one side when you brake, it could be a problem with the calipers or a hose.
Change in Brake Pedal Pressure
While you don’t want to feel vibrations when braking, you also don’t want to feel zero resistance when you push the brake pedal. If it seems spongy or soft, and you can push the pedal all the way to the floor, that’s a problem. Have your brake system checked for excessive air or moisture.
Obviously, it’s never a good sign when you smell something burning in your car. If it’s not the engine, it might be the brakes. If the smell seems chemical in nature, your brakes might be overheating. If you notice any smoke coming from the wheel wells, the smell could be related to the calipers. Just like if you see smoke coming from the engine, you should avoid driving your vehicle until the issue has been resolved.
Puddles Where You Park
Unfortunately, our vehicles have a lot of fluids in them. As a result, it can be difficult to identify what’s causing puddles to form where we park. It could be motor oil, radiator fluid, washer fluid, or brake fluid. Here’s a guide to what that puddle may be based on its color and viscosity:
If it’s watery, it’s probably just condensation and nothing to worry about
Dark Brown or Black
If it smells like gas or is oily in texture, it’s probably motor oil.
This puddle may be transmission fluid, especially if it looks greasy.
If the puddle looks slick and yellow, it might be brake fluid.
A puddle that’s green, pink, yellow, and/or blue and is tacky to the touch, it’s probably coolant.
Blue, Orange, or Green
If the liquid under your car is thin and one of the aforementioned colors, it’s most likely windshield washer fluid.
Depending on the symptoms, your brake repairs could be as basic as replacing old pads with new, ones or lubricating the system. Or, you might need to replace the calipers and the master cylinder. Whatever the problem, bring it into the auto repair experts at Ogden’s Master Muffler. Give us a call at (801) 938-8037, or contact us online today.