Check brakes, replace if necessary

Ever hear that loud screeching noise when you are stepping on your brake pedal? Or maybe you hear that grinding noise that makes you flinch. What could it be?

It could be one of two things. Your brakes and rotors are one of the most important parts on your vehicle that call for immediate attention. Isn’t it nice being able to brake on time and not hitting other vehicles on the road? Let’s keep your car running that way.

How do we keep a good eye on brake pads? It is extremely simple and it will only take just a few seconds of your time. You don’t even have to remove the tire. If you have rims, you can just bend down and take a look at your brake pads. Looking at them through your rims makes the pads very visible, unless they are worn. The outside pad will be directly in front of you. Just make sure the pad is hugging that rotor.

The rotor is that metal round disc behind your tire. The caliper is what holds the brake pads against the rotor. So just be sure it is all in good shape. If the pads look like they are worn — meaning looking very thin — then you need to change your brake pads right away. Now, if you do not have any experience with vehicles, you should have someone with knowledge to change them for you. Brakes can cost you your life and they are not something that should be taken lightly.

If you are starting to hear that nasty grinding noise, then you are in some trouble. That means your pads are so worn it is causing metal-to-metal action. That is never good for your rotors. Your rotors will become warped and the chances of a good complete stop become risky.

Rotors become warped because of the constant friction of the brake pads when you press the brake pedal. When the rotor surface becomes thin, the action of the brake decreases. Your rotors, if warped enough, can cause major issues in the brake system and could lead to brake failure. A sign of this would be shaking (vibration) in the steering wheel when you brake or you can even feel it in the brake pedal. You never want this to happen to you. A good idea would be to have your rotors measured every time you get a brake job done.

Be sure to keep an eye on your brake pads. You never want to hear that annoying grinding noise of the brake pads rubbing on your rotors. Replacing brake pads is a little more expensive then smaller parts on your vehicle, but you never want to risk your life.  So be sure to get them changed as soon as you notice they seem thin. Changing your brakes pads sooner rather than later is something you should always remember.

E-mail Gonzales at gagonza1@student.uiwtx.edu

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