As drivers, we may not spend as much time as we should thinking about the maintenance of the vehicles that take us to and from work, school, and recreational activities – until we need brake repair in Ann Arbor.
All too often, it’s a failure that makes us pay attention, and most failures stop your vehicle or keep it from starting in the first place.
Many of us are not good at preventive maintenance, and unfortunately, brake problems don’t always get a second chance to alert us.
When brakes fail, you can’t stop, and the results can be catastrophic. Well-maintained brakes can make the difference between arriving at your destination safely and landing in the hospital or worse.
Sadly, drivers who are not properly maintaining their vehicles cause tragedy for themselves, their loved ones, or others.
Many of us are good at what we do for a living but don’t know much about the cars and trucks we drive every day. It helps to know the inner workings, but we don’t always have to know the technical issues and how to fix them as long as we have a skilled mechanic – such as the certified mechanics at Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor.
Brakes are probably the last thing we want to malfunction when it comes to vehicles, so how can you tell if they’re wearing out or getting ready to give out and what to do about problems?
What You Should Know About Brakes
- Since stopping a car relies more on the front brakes, many vehicles have more effective (and expensive) disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the back wheels. (Some cars do have disc brakes on all four wheels.)
- Cars now also have an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) designed to help prevent or recover from skids in slippery conditions. If you took driver’s education, you might have learned to “pump the brakes” to avoid or recover from a skid. Your car’s ABS pumps the brakes hundreds of times each second – much faster than you could – and will help prevent skids. You can often feel it working in your brake pedal.
Maintaining Your Brakes
- Brake fluid – when was the last time you checked it?
- Coast rather than applying sudden pressure to brakes when stopping.
- Keep a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Sudden stops by other vehicles can put stress on your brakes, so if you are one of those tailgaters, ease up a bit. Following closely behind will not get you there any faster.
- Active listening – watch for warning signs of failing brakes. Every driver knows when things are not quite right. Pay attention, and don’t ignore a gut feeling that you’d better get your car to the repair shop.
Symptoms of Failing Brakes
- If you hear grinding, squealing, or screeching, it sounds like worn brake pads. If so, you need to have them checked because wear can cause damage to other parts of the braking system. Some brake pads have sensors that squeal when you wear the pads to the point that they need replacing. If you wear down the brake pads, for example, you can damage the rotors – that’s when you hear the grinding noise as you wear the rotors. And that costs more to repair.
- Do you feel a vibration? Does your steering wheel, your brake pedal, or your whole car shake? Something is warped, and things are getting more expensive to repair.
- Having to press down farther on the brake pedal to stop should scare you because it means that you’re getting closer to having no brakes at all.
- If your brakes pull to one side, it means that your brakes have worn unevenly. Imagine what would happen if you had to stomp on them. Where would you end up?
- Do you smell something burning, especially at the bottom of a hill when you’ve been using your brakes a lot? Check your mirror – do you see smoke coming from a wheel?
- Remember, this is a hydraulic system. You have fluid moving through tubes at high pressure. Those tubes can rust or (if you drive over rocks a lot) get bent or broken, and then you could have no brakes at all.
- Is your ABS light on? There’s a reason for that! It should come on briefly when you start your car – that’s a check to make sure that the system is working. However, if it comes on and stays on while you’re driving, the system that helps you avoid a skid during a panic stop or on slippery roads is not working. Please don’t ignore it!
Looking for Brake Repair Near Me? Brake Service in Ann Arbor
As with most complex systems, there are two ways to determine if they are working correctly: getting them inspected or waiting for them to break. If you only keep changing brake pads, there are many other parts of the system just waiting to surprise you.
Now consider your next step. At most auto service shops, you take your car, drop it off, and wait for who knows how long because you’re standing in line, and then get stuck without a car. Oh well, that’s the breaks.
A typical auto repair shop doesn’t consider the customer’s needs for uninterrupted daily activities, but Complete Auto Service is anything but typical. That’s why we provide the convenience of no waiting, 24/7 towing, loaner cars, and free pick-up and drop-off. Use our easy calendar to schedule an appointment online, or just bring your car for a brake check.
Because we identify with your need to maintain your routine, we are the pros who help you preserve your brakes. And when the situation arises for us to keep your vehicle a little longer than you’d prefer, don’t worry; we’ll keep you in wheels until we get your wheels back to you. See our Brake Repair Specials.
Give us a call today or bring it to us. At Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor, there’s no need to put the brakes on your life. And that is how we give you a break.