Next to maybe your vehicle’s engine and transmission, the brakes are the most important part of your car or truck. Properly functioning brakes can be the difference between preventing an accident on the road or having one resulting in at least serious damage to your vehicle and, worse, serious injury or death to yourself, your passengers, and other people.
Sudden brake failure is likely the most terrifying experience you can ever have while behind the wheel. One second you are moving down the road. The next second you are rolling uncontrollably into the car ahead of you or, worse, someone crossing the street.
Proper brake maintenance is important at any time of the year. It is especially important as summer approaches. When the brakes are applied, the brake pads heat up due to friction. If the braking system has not been properly maintained, this phenomenon, added to the heat of summer, can cause catastrophic failure. Also, the summer heat can cause the brake fluid to heat up and reduce brake power if the braking system is not maintained properly.
It therefore follows as spring turns into summer, you should bring your vehicle in so that a trained and experienced technician can inspect your brakes and recommend what fixes may be needed.
Typically, a brake inspection would involve your entire brake assembly, from the pedal to the brake pads. The technician will check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. If the brake fluid level is low, the technician will check for cracks in the master cylinder and leaks in the hoses and lines and recommend repairs accordingly. In any case, depending on your vehicle’s specifications, brake fluid will need to be changed every year or two regardless.
The technician will also inspect the brake pads to check if they have become worn excessively. If the pads are too worn, they will have to be replaced. The technician will also inspect the brake rotor and the caliber, the former for wear and the latter for leaks.
Finally, the technician will check your parking brake. The parking brake will stop your vehicle from rolling down a hill if parked there. It can also serve as a backup in case your main brakes fail.
Remember, having the brakes checked, as with any other kind of preventative maintenance, follows the time-honored principle that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.