Brake Repair & Maintenance : A Saint Augustine community guide
You are driving down the road and come to a stop, there is a squeak, a scraping noise or a shaking sensation. This is the scenario that most customers experience that lead them to our shop. At that point a test drive and visual inspection reveals that there may be a brake pad worn to the sensor, to the metal or the vehicle has a warped brake rotor/drum. These three scenarios all have 2 things in common, they could have been avoided and are generally speaking means that you have waited to long to take action.
What do these braking issue scenarios mean ?
Well before we explore each scenario specifically lets take a moment to make sure that we understand how a braking system works on our vehicles, after all brakes and tires are the two things that drivers often take for granted in regards to safety when driving.
Disc Braking System
Disc Brakes are the standard for modern vehicles and have been used in the front of older vehicles for about 50 years. They are efficient when dissipating heat and brake dust which are two major causes or abnormal brake wear. As in the diagram the disc braking system includes an inner and outer brake pad lining, a brake rotor and caliper. The brake pads are held in place by the brake caliper that compresses the pads in to the rotor and creates friction, that friction creates heat and dust which are then reduced by vents as well as passing wind and wheels. Failed calipers can lock on the inside, outside or both causing uneven wear or even lock the wheel in place making the vehicle unable to be moved.
Drum Braking System
The drum braking system still exists on some newer vehicles but was predominantly used on rear brakes and even all 4 when vehicles first started being made. System consists of many moving parts there is a brake shoe lining that is held in place by a series of springs. A wheel cylinder / slave cylinder expands the brake shoes in to a drum that covers and protects this braking system. Because the system is covered by the drum which is a thick heavy piece of steel, high heat and dust accumulates in the system causing the need for maintenance/cleaning and the break down of components.
Often the present of noise (squeak or scraping) and or shaking is a sign that the vehicle is now OVERDUE for brake service. So how can we prevent this ?
It sounds cliche but proper maintenance inspections is the most important thing when it comes to safety, if that is the case and it seems so obvious why don’t more people get them ? Well you may not know that you aren’t. Often safety inspections are done by reputible shops at the same time as an oil change or regular scheduled service. At this time the technician performed a multi point inspection on the vehicle to tell you if anything is in need of service at that time. At Feldman Auto Repair we perform our inspection and will let you know if anything is necessary at that time as well as give you and idea of how long you have before you will need brake service to be performed. Many late model vehicles now have fail safes like brake wear sensors to inform the driver that the service is necessary which is a great step in the right direction.
Replacement of the brake rotors is a great way to maintenance your brake pads for a longer period of time.
Commonly when a brake service is done the brake pads are placed on top of old rotors or the rotors are “cut” which is a process where the brake disc is shaved down to a smooth surface. We prefer replacement of the brake rotors when performed a brake service for two reasons. First placing new pads on old rotors causes the brake pads to wear faster as the fresh surface of the pad is placed on a surface that is not perfectly smooth and second cutting the rotors reducing the amount of disc material, this creates a situation where the rotor does not hold heat as well as it did which causes excessive wear of the pad or warping of the rotor its self, this causes shaking while braking that can sometimes feel violent.