Maintenance Precautions to Take to Keep Your Brakes Intact
Brakes are taken for granted more than they probably should be. We simply assume that they will work properly every time we get into our vehicle and drive somewhere, and do not even stop to consider what we might do if they break. However, just like any other aspect of a vehicle, brakes are subject to daily wear and tear every time the car is used. Too much wear can render them completely ineffective, leading to a dangerous or fatal situation for you or other drivers. It is vital to do regular Scottsdale car maintenance on your brakes to ensure that they continue to work at peak performance and keep you and your family safe while driving.
Let’s “Brake” It Down
Brake systems are comprised of about 3 main parts along with several smaller parts, that all must work together smoothly to make a vehicle stop quickly. These main parts are the disc (or rotor), caliper, and brake pad. As your press your foot down on the brake pedal to slow or stop the vehicle, the depressed pedal sends brake fluid through the lines while the piston moves inside the master cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid. This fluid gets squirted along a system of pipes into wider cylinder positioned next to the brakes on each wheel. Basically, this entire hydraulic system amplifies the force of your foot on the brake pedal, creating enough force to make the car slow and stop.
While it may seem like a fairly simple process when you push your foot onto the brake pedal, there are actually quite a few moving parts that need regular maintenance in order to work properly.
Brake Maintenance Basics
So now that the main parts of a brake setup have been identified, it is time to discuss how to maintain them. Here are a few suggestions from your local Scottsdale car repair shop:
- Brake Fluid – It is very important to make sure the brake fluid cylinder stays full. When fluid levels get low, excess strain gets put on the master brake cylinder and all its components, causing a ripple effect all the way down to the pads, rotors, and drums.
- Regular Inspections – If your vehicle has steel or alloy wheels, Tempe mechanics are able to easily look at the calipers, pads, and rotors of your brake setup without too much hassle. When plastic covers are present, they can simply be popped off to check the brake mechanisms. The reason these areas are checked by your Tempe repair shop is to assess for uneven pad wear, pitting or scratching on the rotor, caliper rust, or other defects. If any of these issues are present, it will need to be addressed right away.
- Dashboard Lights – Many newer cars have a built-in system that checks for brake issues. If there are problems found, the brake light will shine on your dashboard, alerting you to an issue. Typically, the brake light simply says “BRAKE”; however, check your owner’s manual to be sure. In some older vehicles, this simply indicates that your emergency brake has been left on. Whatever the reason, if you see the indicator light on your dashboard, be sure to perform a brake check soon afterwards.
- Get Underneath – The underbelly of your vehicle takes the brunt of everything, including tar, pebbles, water, ice, salt, snow, and any other materials on the roadway. This also means that your brake lines underneath the car take a beating every time the car is driven. Though most vehicles are specifically designed to protect those brake lines, it is still important to be aware of any rust buildup, holes, or other signs of heavy wear. This is especially true if your brake fluid seems to be running low.
- Follow a Schedule – Many vehicle owners do not realize that their owner’s manual has a blueprint in place for brake maintenance. It offers suggestions for your vehicle’s make and model that specify when your brakes should be checked and fluid added. If you do not have time to read the manual, or have misplaced it, a good rule of thumb is to check your brakes every 3rd oil change. This is approximately every 10,000 miles. Thorough, effective maintenance begins and ends with a detail-oriented approach that never cuts corners.
How Much Do Brakes Cost?
Unfortunately, wear and tear on your brakes is just a normal thing to deal with as a vehicle owner. The friction that occurs every time your brake pedal is pushed causes the pads to wear down over time and eventually need replacement. In order to keep your vehicle in proper working order and drive safely anytime you go somewhere, you will need to invest some money to ensure maintenance and repairs are done properly. So how much are you looking at spending?
Typically, the average price for brake pad replacement runs about $100-$300 per axle, depending on the mechanic. If you wait too long to replace the pad and end up needing to replace the brake caliper instead, the cost is anywhere from $300-$800, or sometimes even as high as $1000. Replacing a brake rotor is approximately $400-$550.
This is why preventive maintenance is so important for the longevity of your brakes. A little bit of time and investment now goes a long way toward protecting your brakes and your driving experience in the future.
For more information on brake repair and maintenance, contact Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive. Our mechanics are knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly, and we are the right choice for all your automotive needs. From repairs, maintenance, oil changes, and more, Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive offers all services at affordable prices so that everyone can experience safe driving for themselves and their family. Call us today at (480) 994-4741 to learn more!
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.