Your brakes keep your family safe. Brake repairs and parts for imports - expensive? You bet! Brake rotors for import cars, unlike domestics, are built with minimal thicknesses to save weight - meaning they can't be "turned"; they must be replaced. Brake rotors for imports are also more sensitive to warping from heat, and overheated brakes are the second most common cause of failure (first is wear-and-tear).
Save money on brake repairs and parts with these tips:
- Use Your Eyes & Ears to Inspect Your Brakes
- Visually inspect your brakes' condition at least every six months.
- Brake Rotors (discs) should be inspected all the way around the surface and on both sides for any concentric scoring (grooves) or obvious defects. If defects are found, replace your rotors immediately. Any rotor discoloration may be a sign of overheating and an inspection by a brake repair professional is needed.
- Brake Pads will normally match rotor scoring but should also be inspected for uneven wear, breakage or cracking on the friction surface. Again, if defects are found, replace the pads immediately. Many cars also have brake pad sensors to warn of pad wear. If your car uses sensors, replace these at the same time as your pads.
- Brake Drums (if equipped) should also be inspected on a regular basis. Check for the same types of flaws as noted above. The drums should not have excessive grooves or have a deep "trough" dug into them where the shoes ride.
- Brake Shoes (if equipped) should be worn evenly and have no rivets protruding to the friction surface.
- When inspecting brakes, check calipers, wheel cylinders, hoses and fittings for any hydraulic fluid leakage.
- Inspect the master cylinder, reservoir and proportioning valve assemblies as well. Replace or rebuild as required.
- A "spongy" brake pedal or one that's gotten lower underfoot also needs looking into. It could be caused by sticking calipers, worn pads, low fluid or hydraulic system problems.
- If you can't "pump them up", then you definitely have hydraulic problems that need work. If you always have to pump them up, at the very least your hydraulic fluid needs replacement.
- To check brakes by sound, know how your brakes should sound and listen for out-of-the-ordinary noises.Most cars have a slight brushing sound from the pads lightly touching the rotors. This is perfectly normal.
- Squeaking may be caused by dust or dirt on the brakes, loose pads vibrating when applied or worn pads.
- Rhythmic noise might mean you have a warped rotor. Instead of a solid squeaking noise, it pulsates. In extreme cases, the brake pedal will also pulsate underfoot.
- Constant brake noise is never a good sound and any grinding noise spells real trouble!
Badly worn, warped or overheated rotors can damage wheel bearings and the complete wheel hub assembly. These parts often cost as much or more than the brakes themselves.
Even if you like doing your own work, every few years your brakes should be examined by a professional. Checking brakes for "run-out", warping, wheel bearing play, proper proportioning balance, among others, are normally more involved than can be accomplished in your garage. This inspection can also uncover underlying problems that could eventually become costly or dangerous.
To schedule an inspection of your brake syatem give A & A Complete Auto Repair Houston a call at (281)564-7782 or bring your car to 12160 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX 77099
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