I think it's really important to know a bit about the internals of a car, so that when you are getting your car serviced you can talk intelligently with the auto technician. As well, there are many easy DIY jobs you can do on your car to save your some money which can make all the difference when you are young and starting out. This site is where I am recording everything I am teaching my kids about auto servicing, and because I think it will be useful to many other families as well. I hope you find it useful for your family.
A brake service is a diagnostic inspection that will highlight any part of your car's brake system that isn't performing as it should. Keeping your car's brakes in good working order is a legal requirement, but it also ensures you stay safe on the road. Aside from the obvious signs that your brakes need checked, how do you know if your car brakes need some attention? Here are four signs your car needs a brake service:
If you hear a screeching noise when pressing the brake pedal the brake pads may be worn. Brake pads help stop your car by squeezing against the brake rotors, so it's not surprising they get worn down over time. As the brake pads get thinner they lose traction and this makes them less effective when you press the brake pedal. A grinding noise usually means the brake pads have completely worn away and the metal brake callipers, which sit behind the brake pads, are now grinding against the rotors.
If your car feels like it pulls to the left or right when you brake, one of the brake callipers may have jammed. A jammed calliper causes friction on the affected wheel and impacts on the handling of the car. Callipers that move unevenly can also cause pulling to one side and can result from a collapsed brake hose. Brake fluid is delivered to callipers through the brake hoses, so a collapsed hose would prevent the calliper from being lubricated enough to operate smoothly.
Feeling vibrations when braking is a clear sign of warped rotors. The vibrations are generated as a result of the uneven rotors rubbing against the brake pads each time you press the brake pedal. Damage to the rotors usually occurs when they are put under stress such as when towing a heavy object or when you drive down steep hills regularly and have to brake frequently on the hill.
If you have to press the brake pedal all the way to the floor to start braking there could be a fault with the brake hydraulics or the brake fluid may be leaking. Brake fluid has a similar appearance to vegetable oil, so have a look under your car for any leaking fluid. If your car slows with the slightest tap on your brake pedal the brake fluid could be dirty or the brake line could be obstructed.
If your car's braking system is experiencing any of these problems, schedule a brake service at your local garage as soon as possible.