10 Brake System Tune-Up And Maintenance Tips
Ensuring your brakes are always in good working order is critical to vehicle maintenance. Ensuring that your brakes are functioning correctly and in top condition is essential for the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.
At Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash, we offer brake maintenance services designed to keep your braking system up to date and performing optimally.
Our brake maintenance tactics include inspecting the brake system to spot any immediate problems, such as frictional materials that need changing or a complete overhaul of the entire system, from hoses and lines down to drum brakes or disc brakes.
We also check for worn brake pads, rotors, calipers, drums, and hardware components and inspect system performance for proper pressure, length of travel, and actuation response time. Learn 10 tips about brake system tune-up and maintenance and always keep your brakes healthy.
Table of Contents
Here are 10 Brake System Tune-Up and Maintenance Tips
1. Brake Fluid Flush
Brake fluid is an essential lubricant used to manage your vehicle’s braking system, yet it’s the one component that gets overlooked in maintenance. Whenever you push down on the brakes to slow or stop your vehicle, hydraulic pressure is exerted on the brake fluid inside a network of hoses and tubes connected to the wheels.
At this point, specially designed brake calipers clamp onto spinning rotors and squeeze special friction pads against them. This creates friction, which in turn slows and stops your car.
Unfortunately, brake fluid degrades with age. As the miles accumulate, moisture gradually seeps into the brake lines and causes corrosion and other damage that reduce their effectiveness over time.
Performing a simple brake flush operation can help keep you safe on the road by flushing out any old, impaired fluids and replacing them with fresh new ones – ensuring your car operates at its best every time you hit the pedal.
2. Brake Pad Replacement
Replacing worn-out brake pads is another key part of proper brake maintenance. Brake pads are made up of metal and organic components that wear down over time due to the intense heat generated by friction during braking. It’s important to check your brake pads regularly, as they can become dangerously thin if left unchecked – leading to a decrease in stopping power and an increase in the risk of brake failure.
The process should be handled carefully and professionally when replacing worn brake pads. First, you’ll need to remove the old brake pads from the caliper assembly by loosening the retaining clips or screws. Once removed, inspect the brakes for any signs of damage or excessive wear and replace them if needed.
3. Rotor / Disc Replacement
Your car’s rotors or discs are another essential part of your braking system, as they provide a smooth surface for the friction material on your brakes to grip onto. Over time, these components can become warped or scored due to heat and extended use, leading to several braking problems.
To ensure your brakes remain in top condition, it’s important to inspect the rotors and discs regularly for signs of damage. They’ll need to be replaced if they appear warped or scored. It’s also worth noting that rotors should be replaced in pairs, as uneven wear can lead to further issues.
4. Practice Mindful Driving
Practicing mindful driving doesn’t just benefit the environment and your wallet, but it can also help maintain your car’s health. Research has found that paying attention to your driving habits can have a big impact on your vehicle’s brake system. If you’re guilty of enjoying high-speed trips from point A to point B, you may put extra wear on your brake pads and rotors when you come to a complete stop or hit traffic.
People who drive close to the car in front of them are likely more dependent on their brakes for consistent slowdowns as speed often changes. Instead of needlessly braking every time you have to slow down a bit, try coasting instead.
This will help reduce the wear and tear caused by frequent braking patterns requiring replacement many times sooner than cars that don’t get driven recklessly. Many people do not consider how changing everyday driving habits can help keep vital systems in their car from wearing out prematurely.
5. Inspect the Brake System Regularly
Inspecting your brake system regularly for any signs of wear or damage is important. Check the hoses, calipers, rotors, and discs for any visible signs of wear or corrosion. If you see anything that looks out of place, take it to a professional mechanic as soon as possible so they can assess the issue.
A qualified technician can also check your brakes for any leaks or other issues that may be causing problems. Additionally, they can inspect the brake fluid to ensure it’s at the correct level and its quality is still good.
6. Don’t Carry Heavy Things
With an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, it is important to be conscious of how frequently heavy loads can take a toll on your car. You can significantly prolong your life by running regular errands and putting less strain on your vehicle’s capabilities.
Avoiding frequent heavy loads is especially key for those who tow heavier items. In such cases, the extra weight shortens the brake pad and rotor longevity and taxes the engine excessively.
When carrying a heavier load than usual, keeping tight control over acceleration and taking special care while stopping or slowing down is helpful. It may be necessary to apply more pressure when braking to bring the vehicle with increased weight to a complete stop.
Even with these precautionary measures taken, it is recommended that one avoids carrying too much weight around in their vehicle if not necessary to ensure optimal sensor performance from brakes and rotors and reduce wear or tear from frequent use under pressure.
7. Keep an Eye on Wheel Alignment
If you let your car’s wheel alignment go out of whack, it can have a major impact on the health of your brakes. Poorly-aligned wheels can cause greater wear and tear on the components of your braking system, leading to faster wear and reduced efficiency.
To avoid this issue, it’s important to check the alignment of your wheels at least once a year and have them adjusted as needed.
8. Check Your Brake Pads & Rotors Regularly
Once you have identified the wear on your brake pads, they should be replaced if the thickness is less than 3mm. As for rotors, they have a greater range of wear resistance, but if you notice a rim around the outside, they likely need replacing.
Findings will depend heavily on factors such as brand, what type of driving you do most frequently, and miles clocked up. Generally speaking, brake pads will need replacing every 50,000 miles, while this figure can reach up to 70,000 miles with rotors.
9. Get Your Brake Fluid Flushed
Regularly getting your brake fluid flushed is important to keep your car operating well. Generally, it’s recommended that you get a brake flush every 30,000 miles, although some manufacturers will advise waiting up to four years between services.
This service helps to remove any accumulated contaminants and pollutants from the brake system that may have built up over time due to use or environmental factors. If you happen to drive regularly on gravel or dirt roads, then it’s likely that these contaminants can build up even faster, and you should consider getting the fluid flushed at more frequent intervals.
10. 3-Month Check-up
At your vehicle’s 3-month check-up, it’s important to have the oil and filters checked. If you’re using conventional motor oil, this should be done every three months or 3,000 miles. If you are using a synthetic variety, you may be able to go up to 10,000 miles in between oil changes.
It’s also a good time to review the condition of the battery and cables to ensure they have tight connections with no corrosion or leaking fluid present.
The engine compartment’s serpentine belt and other belts should not look glazed, cracked, or frayed. Additionally, hoses are important components that should be inspected for leaks, cracks, and bulges.
Lastly, checking the power steering fluid level when the engine is warm can help identify issues early before they become bigger problems. Adding more accordingly when needed could save some hassle further along. Overall regular vehicle maintenance is key in ensuring safe travels.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. How Often Do Brakes Need Maintenance?
It is important to regularly maintain your vehicle’s brake system to ensure that it functions properly and safely. The frequency at which brakes need to be serviced can depend on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, driving conditions, and the age of the brake components. Generally speaking, brakes should be inspected every 6 months or 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers).
2. How Does Wheel Alignment Affect Brake Performance?
If you let your car’s wheel alignment go out of whack, it can harm the health of your brakes. Poorly aligned wheels can cause increased wear and tear on the braking system’s components, resulting in faster deterioration and reduced efficiency. This is why it is important to check the alignment of your wheels at least once a year and have them adjusted as needed.
3. Is It Necessary To Do Brake Maintenance?
Yes, it is necessary to do brake maintenance and tune up regularly. Regular brake maintenance is important to ensure that your brakes are in proper working order and can help prevent major issues from occurring down the road.
4. Why Is The Brake System Important?
The brake system is one of your car’s most important safety features, enabling you to stop or slow down when necessary. Without brakes, your car would be unable to control its speed, and you would be unable to avoid potential hazards on the road. The same goes for other vehicles around you; it could lead to a dangerous situation if they didn’t have brakes.
5. What Is The Average Life Of Brakes?
The average life of brakes depends on several factors, including driving style, the type of brake materials used, and the amount of maintenance performed. Brake pads are generally the first component to wear out, with an average lifespan of 25,000 to 70,000 miles.
However, this can be significantly longer or shorter depending on how and where the vehicle is driven. For instance, a vehicle driven mainly in stop-and-go traffic will experience more brake wear than a vehicle driven mainly on highways or rural roads.
It’s important to understand the importance of regularly maintaining and tuning up your vehicle’s brake system. This can help you avoid costly repairs and ensure your brakes function properly and safely. It is recommended to have your brakes inspected every 6 months or 6,000 miles and whenever any problems or irregularities arise. Additionally, wheel alignment should be checked at least once a year to help reduce premature brake wear.