In order to keep your car running at its best, it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance and inspections. By properly maintaining your vehicle, you’ll reduce future repair costs, optimize your car’s performance, maintain its value and extend its life. Here are some regular maintenance needs to keep in mind for your vehicle:
The Brake System
Many of today’s cars have disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in back. And all brakes rely on friction, which is supplied by either a brake pad or a brake shoe to slow and stop your car. To stop a wheel, a disc brake uses a caliper fitted with brake pads to grab a spinning disc, or rotor. A drum brake has a wheel cylinder that pushes a brake shoe against the inside of a spinning drum.
When brakes need a mechanic’s attention, they give certain warning signals. For example, a low or spongy pedal can mean that there’s air in the hydraulic system. A red brake-warning light that stays on could mean that there’s an imbalance in your hydraulic system. And while some brake noises are normal, chirps, continuous squeals and grinding sounds almost always mean that it’s time for new brake pads or shoes. But anytime you notice something irregular about your brakes, it’s a good idea to have them checked out.
Your car’s owner’s manual will provide a maintenance schedule designed to keep your brakes in good condition. Following it is the easiest way to avoid expense repairs and the potential for catastrophic brake failure. But at the very least, you should have your brakes inspected every year.