Give it a Brake

During National Car Care Month, vehicle owners should check the condition of their brakes to prevent more expensive repairs and ensure safety on the road. Brakes are an incredibly important safety feature on a vehicle, well-operating brakes helps car owners avoid accidents in case of sudden stops or turns. A car’s braking system is composed of multiple parts that undergo high amounts of wear and require regular maintenance.

Auto Inspections: An auto repair expert should inspect your brake system at least once a year, or every 12,000 miles. Have the mechanic thoroughly examine the brake fluid levels, the brake lining, the hoses, brake lines, rotor thickness, and the brake and dash warning lights to ensure that they are functioning properly.  At every oil change, get a professional to check the brakes, drums, rotor, and brake linings. Because brake fluid becomes acidic and can damage your brake system, a mechanic needs to flush the brake system and put in new brake fluid every two years. Even with proper care, brakes should be replaced every 20,000 miles or so, and depending on how you drive the vehicle, brakes may need to be replaced sooner.

Signs of Brake Problems: Listening to your car is one of the best ways to pick up on brake troubles. Unusual noises typically indicate that brakes are worn down and need an inspection. Listen for clicking, grinding or screeching sounds when you apply the brakes. Pay attention to the feel of the brakes as well; check your brakes if the brake feels “mushy” and you need to push the pedal almost to the floor before the brakes engage. If the pedal shakes while using it or if the pedal feels high or too hard when you press it, then the brakes need an inspection. There may also be a brake problem if the car pulls to one side while braking, or if the steering wheel vibrates or locks when using the brake.

Find a reputable auto repair shop by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online business directory containing listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Search for businesses on the home page by choosing from the popular categories list, or by using the search box. Business listings matching your search will display the business name, phone, and address.