Keep Your Car Brakes in Top Shape: Preventative Maintenance Tips

close up of car disc brake

Most Vancouver-area drivers don’t pay too much attention to their vehicles’ brake systems, and it’s not tough to see why. Under normal circumstances, these systems simply slow or stop your vehicle whenever you push down on the pedal. But if your brake system starts wearing out, it won’t be long before you notice signs of danger. 

Would you like to give your brakes a break? If so, here’s a closer look at everything you need to know about preventative brake maintenance.

Why Do Brakes Need Preventative Maintenance?

Like most other components in your vehicle, the parts that make up your brake system work hard day in and day out. These components experience a small amount of wear and tear whenever you slow or stop your car. Eventually, these demands will cause your brake system’s parts to wear out, making this system far less effective than it should be.

If your brake system goes without professional attention long enough, you’ll definitely realize that something’s wrong. Brake wear is linked to many different symptoms, ranging from minor annoyances to significant safety hazards. By taking brake repair and preventative maintenance seriously, you can address these symptoms — and even stop them from happening in the first place.

Look Out for These Brake Maintenance Warning Signs

A few common signs that you might be overdue for a visit to your local brake mechanic include:

  • Unusual noises. Have you been hearing a loud screech or squeal when you brake? If so, the indicators built into these pads might be informing you that the pads are ready to be replaced. And a clicking or rattling sound could mean a section of the brake caliper holding your brake pads has come loose.
  • “Brake fade.” This term describes a brake system that delivers less stopping power than usual. Drivers dealing with brake fade have to brake longer than they usually would to stop their vehicles. Common causes of brake fade include sustained brake usage while carrying heavy loads or driving at high speeds.
  • Pulling to one side. Despite what you might assume, your brake pads probably won’t wear out at the same rate. If your vehicle has a particularly worn brake pad on one side, it could veer toward the side of the road when you brake. Brake pad wear isn’t the only factor that can cause this symptom, but a qualified auto shop can help you determine the cause and resolve the issue.
  • Brake fluid leakage. Any fluid leak is a problem, but if you notice a puddle of light brown or yellow liquid underneath your vehicle, you’re probably dealing with a brake fluid leak.
  • A soft brake pedal. Brake pedals are supposed to deliver a certain level of resistance when drivers push down on them. “Soft” brake pedals are brake pedals that can’t provide the amount of resistance you’d expect, a problem that is often the result of a hydraulic pressure issue in your brake system.
  • Brake pedal vibrations. If your brake pedal is vibrating, there’s a good chance that the resin keeping your brake pads together is starting to break down.

While these problems are often tied to braking system issues, you’ll need to get your vehicle looked at by an ASE-certified mechanic to be sure. Because of that, scheduling an appointment at a trustworthy brake shop should be your top priority as soon as you notice one or more of these symptoms.

Stop Problems Before They Happen With Brake Inspections

By scheduling a brake repair or maintenance service when you notice the symptoms listed above, you can make significant progress toward keeping your car’s brake system in great shape. But this isn’t the only way to improve your braking system’s overall well-being. Getting brake inspections on a regular basis can give your brake shop a chance to catch potential issues before they become noticeable.

The key to making your brake checks successful is not waiting too long between these inspections. Scheduling brake service appointments every six months or 6,000 miles (whichever comes first) is ideal for most drivers. You can get a brake review ahead of schedule if you suspect something has gone wrong. You may also need routine brake checks more or less often than average based on the type of brake pads you use, your driving habits, and other factors.

Choose Vancouver’s Best Brake Mechanics

If you’re dealing with an annoying noise or a vibrating brake pedal due to brake wear, you may think you can get away with ignoring these symptoms. But that’s far from a smart strategy. These are merely signs of a much larger problem, and if you leave your brakes alone for long enough, you could encounter much more serious issues before you know it.

Instead, it’s wise to schedule a brake inspection if you’ve spotted these symptoms (or even if you haven’t). To make sure your brake maintenance appointment goes smoothly, be sure to do your research ahead of time. When you’re looking for a Vancouver-area brake shop that boasts ASE-certified mechanics, multiple convenient locations, and a broad range of auto repair services, it’s worth giving Gaynor’s Automotive a try!

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