Are Your Brakes Misbehaving?

Are Your Brakes Misbehaving?

Advice brought to you by Banks Crossing

Do you hear noises when you step on your car's brake pedal, or do you feel a pulsation in the pedal itself? If you answered yes to either of these questions, your brakes need some attention. As you probably know, when you step on your brakes, there shouldn't be any significant noise and the pedal should feel nice and firm. In this post, the Service Department at Banks Crossing will explain in further detail what you should know about your vehicle's brake system and when its time for a checkup.

How brakes work

First, let's look at how today's brakes function. Most cars today have disc brakes and these function similar to the way the brakes on a bicycle do. When you squeeze the brakes on your bicycle, a set of rubber pads grip both sides of the turning wheel rim, and friction slows down your bike. The brakes in your car operate in a similar fashion except that instead of rubber pads, a hydraulic system squeezes rotors attached to each of your wheels with special brake pads. The result is that your car slows down due to the friction applied, just like a bicycle does.

Brakes Do Wear Out

Your brake pads will eventually wear down and need to be replaced.  During state inspections, automotive technicians check the thickness of the brake pads to judge if they are thick enough to safely operate. In general, they should be some ¼ inch thick or more. Do you wonder what this looks like? If you have spoked rims on your car, you may be able to look through your wheel spokes and see yourself if the brake pads are in the ¼ inch or less range. For an official diagnosis, though, have a professional mechanic look at them.

Noisy Brakes Can Mean Trouble

As we mentioned, when brakes start making noise, its time to pay attention. If you hear a squeaking sound when you step on your brakes, its time to have a mechanic look at them. Many brake pad manufacturers put little metal tabs on their brake pads that make a very distinctive squeaking sound when their pads wear thin. (This will occur when you apply the brakes, not during normal driving.)

Pulsating Brakes Need Attention Also

Then there is the "pulsing brake pedal."  If the pedal pulses up and down when you step on the brakes, then you may have one or more things going on. For example, you might have a brake rotor that is out of round, or a stuck piston in your brake caliper assembly.  In either case, it's definitely time to have a professional mechanic check things out.

The Service Technicians at Banks Crossing Are Brake Experts

Should you have any problems or concerns about your vehicle's brakes, the Service Advisors at Banks Crossing recommend that you bring your vehicle in for a brake inspection. If you are coming in, be sure to visit the specials page on the Banks Website for coupons and other specials.

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