Safe brakes are essential on your family car. Brakes that don't work properly could result in an accident, and that's the last thing you want, especially when brake problems can be avoided through regular inspections and servicing. Here's when to have a brake inspection, what the mechanic looks for, and what to do if your brakes fail the inspection.
When To Get A Brake Inspection
The owner's manual in your car should let you know how often to have your brakes checked. This is often done when you have your tires checked and rotated. The frequency might be based on the number of miles driven, or it could be based on time, such as every six months.
However, you may also want a brake inspection done before a long trip, before your child takes the car back to campus, or when you notice signs the brakes might have problems. Some things to watch for include squealing noises when you hit the brakes, a spongy feel when you depress the brake pedal, and a pulling or vibrating feeling when you brake.
What A Mechanic Looks For With A Brake Inspection
The mechanic may look for air in the brake lines as well as damage to the lines. They check the fluid level to see if fluid might be leaking. The mechanic also checks the brake pads, as these gradually wear down and need to be replaced. They also note how the pads are wearing, since pads that wear unevenly indicate a problem with the brakes. They'll also check the caliper and rotor since the brake pads press on the rotor to stop the car, and if the pads aren't changed in time, the rotor can be damaged too.
What To Do If Your Car Fails The Brake Inspection
You don't want to drive a car with bad brakes, so repairs are necessary. In many cases, replacing the brake pads may be all that's needed. Replacing the pads as soon as they are worn prevents costly damage to other parts of the brakes. The mechanic may also need to fill the brake fluid and repair any minor damage found to the brakes. A leaky caliper or bad rotor can sometimes be repaired, but if not, the parts have to be replaced.
Once your brakes are serviced, remember to keep up with future brake inspections so your car stops when you need it to and you stay safe while on the road. To make getting an inspection more convenient, schedule it for when you have other work done on your tires or have routine service done on your car.