Automotive safety is always at the forefront of everything we do, and the best way to stay safe on the roads is by being able to bring your car to a complete stop. Brakes are rarely something we think about needing maintenance as they tend to go for hundreds of miles and several years operating dutifully without any drama. You should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of worn brakes and learn when your car might need some new ones.
The Two Types Of Brakes
Brakes on passenger cars come in one of two forms. Brake discs and brake drums. Brake discs are the most common type on the roads today, with almost every new car having them. On cars equipped with brake discs, when the pedal is pressed the fluid in the lines is pressurized, which then causes the fluid to push the pistons in the brake caliper which pushes the pads against the discs. The friction produced between the pads and discs is what slows down the car.
Drum brakes work in a similar fashion, but instead of pads being pushed against discs, shoes that sit inside of the brake drum are pushed against the walls of the drum, causing friction that slows the car down.
Drum brakes are not common in high-end sports and luxury cars so for this article we are going to focus on Disc Brakes.
Symptoms That You Need New Brakes
When your disc brakes are reaching the end of their lifespan, some cars may actually let you know by means of a warning light on your dash. If your car isn’t fitted with a wear indicator, and you experience some of the following issues, it’s time for new brake pads.
Squeak Or Squealing
The most obvious sign your brake pads are faded is the distinct screech, squeal, or squeak of metal on metal when driving your car. If you hear the squeal soon after using your brakes, but not while using them, the pads fitted to your car have wear indicators. These are little metal tabs that begin to make contact with the brake disc when more than 90% of the pads friction material has worn away.
If you hear a squealing while braking, chances are the friction material is completely worn away, and the backplate of the pad is now making contact with the disc. In this situation, it is highly recommended that you have your brakes replaced as soon as possible.
Shuddering And Vibration
If you can feel your steering wheel vibrate excessively or the car shudders under braking, this usually indicates that your brakes are more severely worn or potentially damaged. Vibration and shuddering occur when the pads can no longer make consistent contact with the disk. The vibration is caused by the pads skipping and hopping against the disc face instead of making a smooth continuous connection.
The cause of this can range from brake pads that have simply worn unevenly – warped, or cracked brake discs, and in some cases, a brake piston has extended to its maximum position and simply can no longer push the pad against the disk.
Increased Braking Distances
Are you finding that your car is taking longer to come to a stop? Or maybe it feels like you constantly have to apply more and more pressure to the pedal to get them to work. While this symptom may be caused by a damaged vacuum line going to your brake booster, or an air bubble in the brake line, it’s more often than not a sign that there is just not enough friction material left on the pad to make good contact with the disc.
Fitting New Brake Discs And Pads
Once you and your mechanic have identified your car needs new brakes, your pads are always replaced with new ones. Alongside new pads, your mechanic should replace the fluid. Pads wear faster than discs, so if you’ve caught the problem early enough, your brake discs may not need to be replaced at all, or simply needs face skimming to make sure the area that makes contact with the pads is nice and level.
It is only necessary to replace discs if you can see a significant lip forming on either the inside or outer edge of the pad, there is damage such as cracking or the disc has gone through enough heat cycles to become warped.
Looking For New Brakes In Pompano Beach?
Foreign Affairs Motorwerks should be your number one stop for all your braking needs. Whether it’s a routine job, or you’re looking to get better performance from your stock brakes. Don’t make the mistake of delaying your brake maintenance, contact us today at (954) 746-0488