How to Maintain Your Car Brakes and Avoid Issues
Your car brakes are arguably the most important feature of your vehicle. They slow down the car and often prevent crashes and mishaps. Taking care of your car brakes is important for your safety and also ensures your car and its brakes have a long life.
How Do Brakes Work?
Your braking system operates with friction to slow or stop a moving vehicle. The brakes use kinetic energy which needs to be expelled using the force of friction to convert that kinetic energy into heat. Pressing down on the brake pedal moves the energy to a connected lever which then pushes a piston into the master cylinder. This master cylinder is filled with hydraulic fluid. Majority of modern cars will have a hydraulic braking system. This means your brakes may be either a drum or a disc type. A drum brake has a hollow drum that turns with the wheel whereas, a disc brake has a disc that turns with the wheel. Additional to your hydraulic braking system is the hand brake.
Checking Your Brakes
When you purchase a new or used car, you should always check the brakes. Investing in a reliable braking system may cost a little more when you make your purchase but will probably save you in terms of efficiency, safety, and durability in the long run.
As your car gets older, so do the brakes. The more the brakes are used the less efficient they become. So try not to apply the brakes harshly or at all if you don’t need to. Slow down and coast before applying the brakes whenever you can, and keep a safe distance behind other vehicles to avoid sudden brakes. This will preserve the brakes and ensure a longer life. Majority of cars will have a brake warning light. When this comes on, it is a good indication that you need to have your brakes checked. This is likely a warning of a leak in the system. This is extremely dangerous and means you shouldn’t be driving your car until it is fixed.
If your car brakes feel too soft, too hard or are making strange noises, then you should have them checked as soon as possible. Any difference in the feeling of your brakes should be taken seriously. These warning signs may indicate a dangerous problem.
Car Brakes Service
Having an annual service which includes your brakes and brake pads being checked is the first step in ensuring your brakes have a long life. A car brake service will provide a thorough check of the brakes to see if they are working properly or are too worn and need replacing. Your car brake fluid will also need to be assessed. This is important as the vehicle’s brake fluid transfers heat to all parts of the brake system and absorbs water. The fluid from your brakes should be clear with a slight yellow tinge to it, if you notice that it isn’t clear and is dark, it’s time for a flush.