When to Get Brake Repairs

How to Know When You Need New Brakes

You know that your car will need service eventually, but how can you know when it is the right time to visit the auto shop? At Jeff’s Auto Repair, we always strive to make maintenance schedules clear for our customers. If you visit our shop in Lynnwood, Washington regularly, our technicians will monitor the health of your vehicle and give you a heads up when you are approaching upcoming service, such as brake repair. But even with guidance from our experts, it’s still important that you can recognize signs of distress from your car on your own. These three things signal a problem with your braking system and should tell you that it’s time to schedule a visit with us.

Squeaking

If you’ve been behind the wheel of a car for a while, you’ve likely heard the tell-tale sign of brake wear, and maybe you didn’t even think twice about it! Loud screeching brakes are close to wearing out. You might have heard the squealing coming from another car as it pulled up at a red light next to you, or you might have heard it coming from your own car. If that’s the case, we encourage you to get brake repairs at our shop as soon as possible. Those squealing, thinning brake pads will quickly wear out and leave you with nothing to cushion the system as you slow down.

Grinding

If your vehicle’s brakes are squealing and you don’t act to get them repaired, the sound will transition into metal-on-metal grinding. This means that the brake pads are completely worn out, and there’s nothing left to cushion the calipers and discs. When that happens, every part is susceptible to severe damage. That means you’ll face higher repair costs than if you had acted more promptly. Most importantly, driving without brake pads is extremely dangerous, as they are the piece that helps the vehicle stop smoothly. Your brakes might fail without them! For your safety, we recommend getting a tow to our shop if you hear grinding sounds.

Spongy Pedal

You can use your ears to sense brake decay. You can also use your foot! Without realizing it, you’ve become accustomed to the way your brake pedal feels as you engage it. Ideally, it should feel like your pedal is quickly engaging. It shouldn’t take much pressure for the pedal to engage, resist your foot, and begin slowing down the vehicle. If you find that you’re pressing the pedal much closer to the floor to get the same stopping power, your braking system needs attention. This ‘spongy pedal’ decreases reaction time and can be a big safety concern.

If you need brake service, schedule with the local experts at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Brake Evolution

The History of Brake Repair

What goes up must come down and what goes fast, must slow down! In the case of automobiles, that’s where brakes come in. Over the history of automotive evolution, braking systems have come a long way, from rudimentary beginnings to a complex computerized system. The expert technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Bellevue, WA know braking systems like the back of their hand. Let’s explore brake evolution to better understand the technology that keeps you safe everywhere you go!

The Power of Friction

Simply put, braking works by applying friction to a moving part until it stops. The first, most rudimentary braking system worked via a lever that, when applied, pressed blocks of leather against the rear wheels. Think of the disc brakes used on a bicycle and pads that compress against the wheel when you squeeze the brake. The first auto brakes weren’t far off from that same system. But soon, higher quality material was needed to increase the standards of safety. Leather wasn’t standing up to road tests over time. After the failed introduction of cable parking brakes, which frequently seized up, the first hydraulic brake system found its way into automobiles.

Innovation & Complication

Henry Ford revolutionized the auto industry with the infamous Model-T, a cheap and simple design that put more Americans behind the wheel of automobiles. Most auto enthusiasts know how much of a game-changer the Model-T was, but did you know that Ford innovated the braking system? Model Ts used foot-operated cables attached to a belt around a drum in the transmission. Hand-operated drum brakes served as an emergency or parking brake on rear wheels. Another automaker, Renault, took a different route with lined shoes that pressed against steel drums attached to each wheel.

Hydraulic Brake Systems

With 1970’s electronic technology, automakers started using hydraulic control units in braking systems. Hydraulic braking systems rely on hydraulic fluid to transmit force from the brake pedal or lever to drum shoes or disc calipers. Hydraulic pressure is different than using mechanical force to stop a vehicle and requires a master cylinder to convert force. The auto industry’s first ABS systems quickly advanced to enable autonomous brake application for traction and stability control and crash avoidance.

Common Brake Problems You Should Not Ignore

Are your brakes making a squealing sound? All brakes can make sounds when they are engaged. If your brakes are making a consistent squealing sound when you hit the brake pedal, however, that is an indication that you are experiencing brake issues. The most common brake issue experienced by drivers is a worn-out brake pad. Some brake pads can last for 70,000 miles or more. Others may need changing after 25,000 miles or less. Ignoring brake issues can be a costly experience in multiple ways. If those brakes are screeching, get them inspected by Jeff’s Auto Repair as soon as possible.

Common Symptoms of Brake Issues

If your brake indicator warning light is on and your parking brake is not engaged, then your vehicle is telling you that there is a problem. Grinding sounds can indicate a brake issue as well. Some brakes do not squeal, even when there is metal on metal. Having a rock get stuck in your brake caliper can cause this sound as well, even if the brake pads are healthy. Vibration while braking, a soft brake pedal, and a burning smell after driving can all be indications that your brakes need some attention as well.

Just one of these symptoms is concerning. If you have more than one of these occurring with your vehicle, then it needs brake service right away. You could be damaging your vehicle every time you drive it with these symptoms present.

Here’s What Happens When Brake Service is Ignored

When your brake pads wear out, then you create a situation where the metal of the pad meets the metal of the rotor. If this issue is not addressed right away, then you can put grooves into the rotor from your braking habits. Grinding sounds are another indication that you are damaging the rotor.

Over time, the rotor can develop a variation that leads to vibration and wobbling. That can become dangerous if you must stop quickly as it is more difficult to control the vehicle as it shakes. By addressing brake issues as soon as symptoms are detected, it is much easier to avoid potentially costly repairs. One easy way to ensure your vehicle is always performing as it should is to have your brakes inspected when you get the oil changed in your vehicle.