That little “e” makes a big difference! If only one thing on the whole car can work properly, you want it to be the brakes. It doesn’t matter how well the car runs, how fast it is, how good it looks, or how cold the A/C is; if the vehicle can’t stop, you shouldn’t be on the road!
So the question is, how do you know you can trust that when you press that brake pedal, your car will actually come to a stop? First of all, brakes are a wear item, meaning over time, most brake components do wear down and need replaced. Most people in the Auto Industry agree that brake pads last anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles (sometimes more, sometimes less, it’s very dependent on how the driver brakes and road conditions). If you haven’t had your brakes checked within the past year or two, getting a basic inspection can not only allow you to financially plan for possible future investment in your brakes, but also give you peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to stop once you get to “Point B.” In addition, at the time of inspection, getting certain brake components lubricated and adjusted can help you to get the most life out of current parts.
Being right smack-dab in the middle of the Rust-Belt poses another concern for us Columbus drivers: rusted out brake lines. Any car that has seen a handful of salt-sprayed winters is potentially at risk for having a brake line or two rust through causing the brake pedal to fall to the floor and be nearly ineffective. I don’t mean to scare you, but I do mean to caution you. Although replacing one or all of the brake lines can be expensive, it’s important to keep on top of for the safety you and others on the road.
Lastly, it’s easy to neglect the fluid that causes the speeding hunk of metal you’re driving to safely come to a halt. Brake fluid does have an expiration date, so to speak. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs water over time. This water can cause damage to the metal brake components it flows through, and it can also evaporate as the fluid heats up, causing air pockets in your brake lines and components. Air in the lines causes a softer pedal and increased stopping distance. To extend the life of your brakes, it’s important to have this fluid tested and flushed out every so often.
You know how your brakes feel when they are working properly. Keep an ear tuned in for any abnormal squeaks or grinds, and let us know if you begin feeling some shaking while braking, or noticing it just takes longer to come to a stop. Staying on top of the condition of the brakes is the most important thing you can do for your car!