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May 30 2010

How Often Do You Get Your Brakes Checked?

Strangely enough, the most important safety component on a vehicle is also the one that is most frequently overlooked by drivers. The value of a vehicle's brakes is obvious, however drivers often evade brake inspections and maintenance until after a problem develops. Routine brake inspections can significantly reduce the chance of accidents, and can reduce long-term vehicle maintenance costs by catching minor problems before they turn into more expensive repairs.

The Components of a Brake System

Modesti's Car Care Center specializes in Break Inspections, Maintenance & Repair of Foreign & Domestic Autos, Light Trucks, SUV's & Hybrids. It has always been our goal to maintain 100%satisfaction with our clients.The majority of modern motor vehicles are outfitted with disk brakes on at least the front, and occasionally the rear tires. A cars disk brake is constructed up of a metal rotor (the disk), brake pads, and calipers. The brake pads are made with a metal backing and a friction material that comes in contact with the rotor. A cars wheels are slowed down by way of hydraulic pistons applying pressure on the break pads, which are placed inside the calipers.

Though older car models usually employ drum brakes on each of the vehicles wheels, only some newer models use drum brakes on the rear wheels to slow down the car. Drum brakes and disk brakes are fairly similar, the primary difference being that on drum brakes the calipers and pads are housed inside of a drum. However, no matter what type of brakes a vehicle is equipped with, routine brake inspections are extremely important.

What To Expect

A brake inspection should be a compulsory requirement of any routine vehicle tune up or maintenance. When the technician inspects brakes, they're looking at the general condition of the brake, the remaining thickness of the rotor and brake pads, hydraulic brake line integrity, the quantity and condition of the brake fluid, and the integrity of the calipers.

As a result of brakes using friction to slow a car down, they generate a large amount of heat,and consequently cause the break pads and rotors to wear down, leading to a decreased perfomance ability, eventually causing a need for them to be replaced. Thorugh regular brake inspections and maintenance drivers can lengthen the lifespan of their brakes.

While routine brake inspections are generally sufficient to catch problems before they arise, there are some symptoms that indicate the need for an immediate inspection. Avoid the temptation to hold off until your next scheduled inspection. Visit a mechanic instantly if you notice any of the following symptoms:

--Loud grinding noises coming from the brakes

--A Noticeable brake fluid loss

--A noticeably decreased ability to brake

--Grabby brakes

--Excessive brake pedal travel

--A shimmy while braking

--Spongy brakes

--An illummination of the ABS light

Frequent brake inspections are the best way to avoid preventable accidents and potentially huge repair costs. A good relationship with a trusted vehicle service shop is the first step in maintaining the health of your car.
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