It should go without saying that your vehicle's brakes are very important. If your car doesn't stop or slow down properly, you are endangering yourself, your passengers and every other driver on the road. Plus, regular brake maintenance and new brake pads cost a lot less than repairing damage to a car that's been in a serious accident.
When do you need to get new brakes? Well, the answer is going to vary from car to car and driver to driver. Schultz Auto and Truck Repair has put together these simple questions you can ask yourself to determine the lifespan of your master cylinder, brake pads, brake rotors and brake fluid.
1. When is the last time you got your brakes checked?
A simple brake inspection should be a routine part of any automotive maintenance visit. Let a professional inspect the brakes and measure the brake pads. If the pads are getting dangerously low or the rotors are looking worn, it is likely time to consider replacements.
2. What brake replacement interval does your manufacturer recommend?
When you buy or lease a new car (or a used car with less than 50,000 miles on it), your owner's manual will tell you what the recommended maintenance is for the original brakes. In most cases, the general recommendation will be anywhere from 40,000-75,000 miles, depending on the brake system and parts used.
3. If it's a used car, when was the last time the brake pads/rotors were replaced?
Be sure and ask the dealer or private seller if they have this information. It will help you know when the old brakes might be due for replacement.
4. Is there screeching or squealing when you start or stop?
If you hear a lot of nasty noises, it could be the sign of bad brakes. However, it could be something else altogether like a fan belt, timing belt, wheel bearings, differential or just low tire treads. It is always a good idea to have any strange noises looked at by a professional automotive repair shop like Schultz Auto and Truck Repair.
5. When is the last time the brake fluid was checked?
Again, this should be part of any regular maintenance visit. The brake fluid level and quality can be checked easily and any leaks should be repaired immediately.
6. What are your daily driving conditions?
Do you commute with a lot of stop-and-go traffic? Do you deal with a lot of hills and sharp turns? Have the roads been wet or snowy? All these factors can put additional strain on your brakes. The tougher your regular driving conditions the more likely your brake pads and rotors will wear out quicker than normal.
7. What are your personal driving habits?
Let's face it. Some drivers are a lot harder on their brakes than others. If you like to come to abrupt stops rather than slowing down gently or you just like to ride that brake pedal, you will wear out your brake components more than the average driver. You can strive to change your driving habits or just understand that you want to get your brakes checked regularly and replaced as needed.
8. If the brakes have been replaced already, were they of good quality?
The quality of the brake pads, rotors and other components is definitely a factor. If you bought the cheapest replacement parts available, odds are they will need to be replaced sooner because they are manufactured with weaker materials. If you spent more on higher quality brake components, then they should (in theory) last longer. Other factors (see questions above) may come into play, so it is still always a good idea to get your brakes inspected regularly.
These are just some of the most important questions you need to ask yourself when considering the lifespan of your brakes. As you can see, there are many factors involved. For all your brake inspection, routine brake maintenance and brake repair/replacement needs, call Schultz Auto and Truck Repair in Hamburg at (716) 422-4008 or schedule a service appointment online.