One of the most important parts of your car is the brakes. Because this is what allows you to stop quickly and reliably, it is vital to safe operation. It is easy to forget just how dangerous cars can be due to the incredible kinetic forces they create, and that is because we take functional brakes for granted most of the time. However, brakes are complicated and keeping them operational needs to be on your list of car maintenance tasks. This short guide will tell you everything you need to know about maintaining your brakes so you can feel safe and confident in your vehicle.
If you do not care about how brakes work or any of the more specific aspects of maintaining your car, then that is okay. You can keep your car in working condition without too much effort. Generally, it is recommended that every car has its brakes serviced about every 50,000. You can have this done at the same time as all the other regular maintenance tasks:
- Rotating the tires
- Aligning the tires
- Changing the oil
- Checking the fluid levels
The brakes are an intricate system, however, and there is some advantage to going to a shop that specializes in servicing and repairing the brakes specifically, rather than a general shop that will do all the tasks at a sub-par level. You can get a brake service quote before going in to get a better idea of what to expect it will cost you.
Digging a little deeper
Simply servicing the brakes every 50,000 miles may work for most people, but if you really want to care for your car as much as you can, there is a little more complexity in deciding when it is time to go in. 50,000 miles is just a suggested estimate, after all. In truth, there are many factors that affect how quickly your brakes wear out. If you drive on city streets a lot, for example, you should not expect to make it all the way to 50,000 miles before new brake pads are needed. The constant starting and stopping of stop signs and street lights is to account for this.
You can check your brake pads yourself and see how thick they are. If they are starting to get thin, it is best to go into a shop. You can also listen for the squealing sound they make when they are ready to be replaced. This is due to a metal wire built into the pad specifically to alert drivers.