How to Prevent an Accident: Brake Pads
Stop an Accident by Stopping on Time
For most of us, the way a vehicle actually works is a bit of a mystery. Sure, we get the basics of the mechanics of it all, but it’s truly amazing that when you push one pedal, the car goes, and you push another pedal, and the car stops. At least it should stop.
If you’re intent on not getting in an accident any time soon, then you need to make sure that your number one accident prevention device is in top working order. Your brakes are the first line of defense against crashing. Here at Big Sky Collision Center, our goal is to make sure that you’re safe on the roads. So let’s go through the quick checklist of how to make sure that your brakes don’t break, and will brake for you.
Signs of Worn Brakes
The average brake pads should last between 25,000 and 65,000 miles. Why such a large range? Simply because if you’re cruising on the highway most of your miles, you’re not going to be using the brakes nearly as much as if you do most of your driving in town. Here’s how to know when it’s getting time to replace them.
They are Squeaking – Squeaky brakes aren’t necessarily a sign that they’re on their way out. The squeak can be due to a number of factors that include dirty brakes and low quality brake pads. However, persistent squeaks shouldn’t happen. If your vehicle won’t stop squeaking when you brake, then it’s time to swap the brakes so nothing bad happens.
They are Scratching – Scratching, usually a metallic grinding noise, means your pads are on their last legs, or feet, or millimeters. Most modern brakes come with a metal tab built into them. When the pads get thin, the tab scratches and gives you a clear warning that it’s time to get new brakes.
They aren’t Working – The easiest way to know if your brakes need replaced is when you push down on the pedal and nothing happens. Actually, that’s a sign of some much more serious issues. If you push the pedal and your brakes don’t seem to work as quickly or efficiently as they used to, it’s time to get them replaced.
Whenever things seem “off” about your brakes, don’t hesitate to take it into the mechanic to have it fixed. When it comes to your stopping ability, you don’t want to take chances!
When to Have Brakes Replaced
During your routine maintenance, you should have your brakes inspected. Since you ought to have your oil changed every few months, this is the perfect time to have the mechanic take a quick look at the brakes (most offer this as a free courtesy check anyway).
If the mechanic says the brakes are getting thin: have them replaced.
If the tabs are scratching and making a ruckus: have them replaced.
If you look at your brakes and can see that they’re getting thin: have them replaced.
The brakes are easy to inspect, and replacing them is a quick job in the shop. Don’t put this one off and risk an accident!
How to Maintain your Brakes
When you press on your brakes, the rotors (the part your brake pads clamp down onto in order to make the vehicle stop) can literally get red hot. To make sure that your rotors and brakes last, there are a couple things you can do to keep them in top shape.
Avoid Braking Hard – Slamming on the brakes is going to wear them out quicker. Gentle stops are safer and make your vehicle last longer.
Keep them Clean – Dirt and grime can get in between the pads and rotors. Braking will clean that off, but it scratches and wears everything out. If you really want to get them clean, you have to take the wheel off and use some brake cleaner.
Big Sky Collision Center does Auto Body Repair
For maintenance issues, your vehicle is best served by your mechanic. But if your brakes fail and you’re in a wreck, bring your rig to the best auto body repair shop in Billings. We can get you back on the road in a vehicle that has been fully restored to factory safety standards.
Need more details, or want to make an appointment? Call us at 406-259-6328.