How Often Should You Get Your Brakes Checked In Louisville, KY?
The brakes are the car’s first line of defense when it comes to safety. However, did you know that your brakes wear out, and you need to have them changed about every 20,000 miles? Do you know where to take your vehicle for brake service? Our experts at Oxmoor Toyota will help you schedule regular brake maintenance or emergency brake service and provide friendly, reliable customer care along with it.
How Do Brakes Work?
The brake system is your most important safety feature and consists of multiple components that each require regular maintenance. What are the parts of the brake system in your vehicle, and how do they work?
- Vehicles have front and rear brakes.
- The front brakes use rotors, which are large metal disks, as a braking mechanism.
- The rear brakes sometimes also use rotors, but in efforts to lower cost, several manufacturers now install expanding drum brakes.
- Pressing the brake pedal engages the brake fluid, which is pushed under pressure through a series of tubes to the brakes themselves.
- When the brake fluid reaches the front tires, a caliper is activated to push the brake pads against the sides of the rotor. This creates friction and causes your tires to slow down.
- On the back tires, the brake fluid enters the wheel cylinder inside the drum, and this causes the brake shoes to move toward the rotating drum. This makes the brake drum slow to a stop.
Any part of this brake system can wear down with use over time. Often the first of these components that need to be replaced are the brake pads. The purpose of the brake pad is to apply pressure or friction to the brake rotor, causing the vehicle to come to a stop.
Most often, brake pads and brake shoes require the most attention. Once they wear down to the point of needing repair, this can damage the rotors and drums. If brake pads and shoes are not replaced promptly on time, you may end up with expensive repairs.
Signs of Brake Wear
Regardless of how you drive or the terrain you cover, your brakes will wear out over time. Manufacturers recommend having your brake pads replaced every 20,000-60,000 miles by a certified technician. If you need to replace your brake pads and delay the service, it can severely damage the brake system. When brake pads wear too thin, they will eventually stop providing any protection to you and your car.
There are some obvious signs to know when your breaks need work. The best option is to check the thickness of your brake pads. If you aren’t able to do that, here are a few signs to watch for on your vehicle:
A high-pitched sound is an indicator in your braking system that your pads need replacing. This sound is a safety feature built into your vehicle to help you know when you should get your brakes serviced. A grinding sound when pressing on the brake pedal means that the worn-down brake is grinding against other parts of the car, thus damaging it. Driving under this condition could cause severe damage to your vehicle and is a safety concern to you as well.
Feeling a vibration or pulsing when pushing down on the brakes is another example of when brake pads are becoming thin. If your steering wheel vibrates when braking at high speeds, this could indicate your rotors have warped or become damaged. You should have your brakes inspected soon by a certified, reliable technician.
Does the vehicle pull to the left or the right when stopping? This doesn’t always indicate that the brake pads are becoming thinner, but it’s the first place to start. In most cases, this will only get worse with time, leading to unsafe driving situations.
Common Causes of Brake Wear
While brake maintenance is recommended at 20,000-60,000 miles or inspected every six months, most people have this done every time they get their tires rotated. Depending on the road and traffic type you drive daily, you may need inspections more frequently. Your driving habits will dictate when how often you need to get your brake pads replaced.
The list below shows drivers who would benefit from having their brakes checked closer to the 20k mark. The less stress you put on your brakes, the longer you can go without a brake service.
- Driving on hills with lots of sharp turns.
- Urban stop-and-go driving (versus highway miles).
- Using inexpensive/unreliable brake pads and other brake system components.
- Driving in mountainous country, where downhill braking is necessary, may also add wear and tear to the brake pads.
Prevention and Regular Maintenance
When determining when a technician should evaluate the appropriate time to have your brakes replaced, prevention instead of reaction is always better. To prevent excessive wear, consider scheduling a brake check every 10,000 miles or asking your technician to inspect the brakes at each oil change.
Another preventive step is to remove the caliper and brake pad to clean everything at every major service (approximately every 30,000 miles). The technician will then be able to inspect the brake pad for uneven wear. Everything will then get lubricated and put back together if no further service is required. This is a great way to keep your brake system in working order and prevent future breakdowns.
If upon inspection, the technician has determined that the brake system needs fixing, there’s an extensive range of expenses that this can include. Brake jobs can range from replacing brake pads to repairing or replacing the complete system, including pad, rotor, and caliper. Having a skilled technician work on vehicles gives you peace of mind that the vehicle is fixed correctly.
Your brakes are an essential part of your safety. When something that complex needs fixing, you want only the best. The technicians at Oxmoor Toyota are here to provide you with a full brake service system repair. Call or stop by today to make an appointment with our service department.