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What You Need To Know About Car Brakes

As far back as from the 1800s, inventors have been working on different ways to get automobiles to stop safely. While brakes have become more sophisticated over the years, the mission to protect drivers, pedestrians, and other road users has always been the same - to make cars safer.

Since brakes are one of the most important safety systems in your vehicle, their regular servicing can keep you and your passengers safe and as well as keep the vehicle away from the body shop. Today, we want to have a look at how brakes operate, what causes your brakes to wear down, and how to recognize whether you need brakes servicing or new brakes for your vehicle.

How Do Brakes Operate?

If you are similar to most Canadian drivers, you will apply your brakes around 200 times a day. That means that you entrust your safety 200 times to the 40+ components of the brake system to bring your vehicle to a stop, which is a very complex system. Let's try to explain it in simple words. By pressing down on the brake pedal, you activate the cylinder that delivers the brake fluid to the calipers that then engage your brake pads. Your brake pads then apply pressure to the rotors, creating the friction that is needed to stop your car.

What causes your brakes to wear down?

The answer is simple: Friction! Brakes rely on friction to slow your car down and bring it to a stop. Day-to-day use, plus mileage incurred, the surrounding environment, your driving style, and the type of vehicle you drive are also contributing factors in wearing out of brakes.

What’s the difference between disc brake service and brake repair & replacement?

Servicing brakes means cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting the brake components without replacing them. Brakes are serviced to make sure they function properly between replacements, wear more evenly, and last longer.

Brake repair & replacement involves the removal of worn-out bits and replacing them with new components. Brake pads and rotors are usually replaced when they are worn down close to their minimum thickness or are damaged. One of the most obvious signs that brakes need to be replaced is annoying noise - a squeaking, squealing or grinding noise. Other signs when you are in need of professional help include vibration, spongy pedal, and taking longer to stop.

When replacing brakes keep in mind:

  • Brake components should always be replaced on BOTH sides (driver and passenger side,) at the same time. If brake parts on only one side of the car were replaced, your car might pull to one side when you apply the brakes.
  • Choosing quality parts is always beneficial in the long run - people are getting in bad trouble with cheap parts. At Right Way Auto Repair, we have access to multiple suppliers and manufacturers to make sure that you are getting the ones that you need. We are also experienced with these parts and know which ones result in happy customers and which ones may come back with warranty concerns (if there is a warranty.)

So, what you need to know about brakes:

  • The brakes’ components must be periodically serviced or replaced as they gradually wear down and lose their effectiveness.
  • Disc brake service and brake repair & replacement are two different services.
  • Old brakes don't stay silent. Think of it as a noisy friendly reminder.

You know better than anyone what safe braking feels like in your own vehicle. If you’ve heard, felt, or seen any of the above signs that your brakes need professional attention - don’t wait - give Right Way Auto Repair a call or stop by our shop in Hamilton, ON right away!