August is Brake Safety Awareness Month, and it's time to celebrate this all-important vehicle safety feature. It's also the perfect time, according to the Car Care Council, to have your brakes inspected. It's a good idea to make sure your car's brake system is in working condition before school starts and cold weather strikes.
If any car is driven long enough, the brakes are eventually going to have to be replaced. Just normal, everyday driving puts wear and tear on your braking system, so it is wise to be aware of the current condition of your brakes. As a crucial part of routine car maintenance, your brake system should be checked once a year. This inspection should include:
- Brake pad/lining wear.
- Brake fluid level.
- Rotor/drum thickness.
- Condition of hoses and brake lines.
- Brake and dash warning lights.
- A test drive.
If it is discovered that any part of your braking system is compromised, have the problem fixed immediately. Not only could the issue potentially lead to an accident, but there is a good chance the malfunction will only get worse if ignored, and eventually lead to a more costly repair.
Warning Signs for Faulty Brakes
When you're driving, try to be aware of how well your brakes seem to be functioning. If anything seems unusual or "off," make an appointment with your mechanic. What should you be looking, listening and feeling for?
- Is your car pulling to either the right or the left?
- Do you hear odd noises when you apply the brakes?
- Is there an illuminated brake warning light?
- Are your brakes grabbing?
- Is there a low or a hard pedal feel?
- Are your brakes vibrating?
- Do you detect any squealing?
Rich White, the executive director of the Car Care Council states, "Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake system problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair."
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