Maintenance Monday with Big O Tires: Brakes

Let’s start with the rolling wheel. How do your brakes stop it?

Connected to the wheel is the rotor. That’s the part of the wheel that the brake will press on to stop it from rolling.

The brake pad is the part of the brake that touches the rotor. Brake pads cause friction against the rotor, which is what stops the spinning wheel. They wear out from this friction over time, and are meant to be replaced regularly.

Brake pads are attached to the caliper, which is the part of the brake that applies the pressure. It’s sort of like an arm.

The caliper works by hydraulics. The hydraulics are a series of hoses filled with brake fluid. You press on the brake pedal with the force of your foot, and the hydraulics multiply that pressure enough to stop a speeding car. The hydraulic brake fluid makes the brake pads close on the rotor to stop the car.

Brakes will usually give you a bit of warning before they go. Here’s what you may notice:

Noise while braking. Whether it’s a squeal or a grind, noise means the brake system needs some attention. Most noises are due to a problem with the brake pads. Pads are the surface of the brake, and they wear down over time. Some are designed to make noise when they get worn. Replacing brake pads is fairly low cost. If you wait too long, though, the brake pads wear through, and then the rotors or discs will be worn, too. That’s more expensive to fix.

Spongy feeling. If you have to press the brake pedal further or harder than usual to stop, there could be a problem. It might be worn brake pads, or it could be something else, like a leak in the lines. Get your brakes checked as soon as you can.

Brake warning light. Many people ignore this light if they can’t hear or feel anything wrong. This can be very dangerous, especially in later model vehicles with computer-controlled braking systems. When the brake warning light stays on, there’s a problem in the brake system that you may not notice otherwise. This could be a faulty sensor — or a possible brake system failure.

Other signs. If your steering pulls to one side when you brake, or you are low on brake fluid, there may also be a problem. Don’t wait to get brake service. The cost of a brake repair service is a whole lot less than the cost of failing to stop when you need to!

In short, there are a lot of parts to your brakes. All of these parts should be checked at least once a year. Brake pads wear out. Brake fluid can leak or absorb water from the air and become less firm. Hoses can crack.

You can get a brake inspection at Big O Tires here in Safford. We’ll tell you what the issue is, give you a firm quote and do the brake repair you need to get back on the road safely, and fast. And while you’re there, we’ll check the air in your tires and fill them free, after all, we are a complete automotive care center, servicing your car from bumper to bumper. We want to see you safe. Come visit us on Highway 70 in Safford, like us on Facebook here, or call or text us at 928-428-1140. As the Team You Trust, we are so grateful for your business!

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