Your brakes are the most importance safety feature on your car, so it's vital that you keep them in good working order. Knowing how to maintain your brakes along with proper usage to avoid damage is the key to safe braking. The following tips can help you prolong the safe working life of your brakes.
Tip #1: Check and replace fluid
The brake fluid in your car will eventually get dirty from repeated use. In some cases moisture may even get into the fluid, which can lead to brake failure. The frequency of brake fluid changes varies depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle, so take a peek inside your owner's manual and find out the recommended maintenance schedule. Then, make sure to have the fluid inspected and changed at the interval advised.
Tip #2: Replace your pads promptly
Most modern cars are equipped with brake pad sensors that notify you when your pads are nearing replacement. It's important that you respond quickly and have the pads replaced as soon as the warning light comes on. On older cars or cars without sensors, pay attention to your car. If the pedal feels "soft" or "spongy" when you brake, it takes longer for your car to stop, or if you hear squealing from your brakes, it is time to have the pads checked and possibly replaced.
Tip #3: Be careful about custom wheels
Custom wheels may look cool, but they can be pretty harsh on your braking system if you choose the wrong ones. Opting for large, heavy rims – especially those made to fit heavier tires – can put undue stress on your brakes. Check with the manufacturer and stick with recommended rim weights and sizes even if you decide to go custom in design. This can help you avoid premature brake failure.
Tip #4: Have your rotors checked
The rotors are the part of the brakes that the pads squeeze, with the resulting friction causing the car to slow or stop. Rotors can become damaged, with waves or gouges forming on the surface. When this happens you may hear a grinding noise or notice that the car shakes or shimmies when you apply the brakes. If you experience this have the rotors checked promptly before further damage occurs to the brake system. In many cases the rotors can be machined so that they are once again smooth.
For more help, contact a brake repair shop in your area.