Most drivers would agree that your brakes are a crucial part of your vehicle’s safety system – after all, you’re constantly using them! However, a surprising number of people don’t understand the basics of how your brakes function or how to ensure they are properly maintained.
Never fear, Mayfield Toyota is here! Today we’re going to explain the basics of how brakes function, and by extension, what maintenance they need to keep you safe on Alberta’s roads.
Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes
The two different types of brakes are disc and drum brakes. Disc brakes use a clamp called a caliper to squeeze a pad onto a rotor. Drum brakes uses a set of brake shoes to press against a rotating drum – using friction to reduce speed.
In the end, both types of brakes end up doing the same thing through different means – using friction to slow your car. Disc brakes are more effective but more expensive, while drum brakes are less effective yet less costly. Your vehicle may have disc brakes all around or a blend of disc and drum brakes.
Why Do My Brakes Need Maintenance?
Your brakes are some of the toughest components on your vehicle, but even they will need maintenance because they’re being used constantly. The most common part that needs replacement is the pads/shoes – as these are the parts that are used to create the friction needed to stop. These parts are slowly worn down over time, and will require replacement about once every couple years (depending on driving style).
The rotors, calipers, and drums may eventually need to be changed too (thanks to Alberta’s snow and cold) but they shouldn’t need replacement for several years – again, depending on driving style.
How Do I Tell If My Brakes Need Maintenance?
There’s several ways to tell if your brakes are in need of some TLC. The most obvious of which is a pronounced squealing noise when stopping (which indicates your pads are worn) or a heavy vibration coming from the brake pedal under braking (indicates rotors are warped). Other indications may include your vehicle pulling in one direction or another when braking or an “ABS Fault” light appearing on your dash.
Should your vehicle show any of these indications of brake issues, or if you have any doubts about your braking system at all, visit our Service Department to have one of our certified technicians solve the issue. Your brakes are a critical component of your vehicle, so make sure they’re kept in top condition!
Do you have any further questions regarding your vehicle’s brakes? Need more advice on what your brakes need to operate smoothly? Let us know in the comments below!