Brake Trouble Ahead – Five Indicators

Brake system failure is one of the most dangerous situations a driver can experience onBrake Touble the road. The brake system on your vehicle is highly complex, involving an extensive number of integrated components, all of which are subject to wear and eventual failure. Brake failure can have serious and deadly consequences, so it is important to be aware of, and responsive to, any indications of brake trouble.

Your car has many ways of letting you know that brake trouble may be ahead. By paying attention to these five indictors, you can have brake system issues addressed before they put the safety of you and your passengers at risk:

  1. Hearing Weird Noises

Hearing a high, screeching sound when you apply your brakes? It could mean that your brake pads need to be replaced.

  1. Pulling to One Side When Braking

Does the vehicle tend to pull to one side when you are braking? This could be an indication that the brake lining is wearing unevenly or that the brake fluid is contaminated.

  1. Brake Pedal Feels Strange

Does the brake pedal feel spongy or sink to the floor? There may be a leak in the braking system, possibly an air leak in the brake hose or a brake fluid leak. A brake pedal that feels hard or difficult to press may indicate a blockage in the brake line or an issue in the vacuum system.

  1. Excessive Vibration When Braking

Have you noticed excessive vibration in your brake pedal during breaking, similar to the vibration you feel when the anti-lock brakes feature engages? A vibration or pulsating brake pedal can be a symptom of warped rotors.

  1. Grabbing Sensation When Braking

Have you experienced a grabbing or jerking feeling when applying the brakes? This could be an indication that the rotor is unevenly worn or that the brake fluid is contaminated.

In addition to these indicators, the warning light on your dashboard will illuminate if your vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system senses any problems. Although sometimes these lights come on even when there is not a problem, you should always take your vehicle in and let your service technician inspect your brake system.

Be Thankful for a Safe Trip

This time of year finds everyone busy preparing for holiday celebrations, shopping for Thanksgiving Road Tripgifts, and making plans for holiday travel. Odds are you are not thinking about your car. But you should be.

When Thanksgiving Day arrives, we imagine we’ll be sitting around the dinner table with loved ones, enjoying great food, sharing memories, and reflecting on all those things that make us truly thankful. You sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, nibble on a few more bites of pumpkin pie, and settle into that warm, cozy, holiday feeling.

But what if Thanksgiving Day comes and you hop into a car that has been woefully neglected for maintenance service? You may end up sitting in a cold, dead car, digging through seat pockets for something to eat while waiting for a tow truck to arrive. You sip a half empty water bottle, nibble on a few more bites of stale saltine crackers, and settle into that awful, regretful, why-didn’t-I-get-an-oil-change feeling.

If holiday travel is in your plans this year, make sure it is a safe trip. Now is the time to get your vehicle in for a pre-trip service check!

Be Thankful You Had an Oil Change

Putting off an oil change can cause significant damage to your engine. Be sure to follow the recommended oil change schedule as described in your owner’s manual. For fall and winter, ask your service technician to recommend the best oil to use for the season. Since cold temperatures cause motor oil to thicken, your tech may suggest a different weight for the season.

Be Thankful You Had a Tire Check

Tires are one of the most critical safety features on your vehicle. Drivers should do a monthly check of the air pressure and tread depth of tires. Always be on the lookout for nails, cuts, bulges, and signs of unusual tread wear. Be sure to have a professional inspect your tires at least once a year and also follow the recommended schedule for wheel alignment and tire rotation.

Be Thankful You Had a Battery Check

Extreme weather, including cold temperatures, can degrade car batteries internally and can accelerate the rate of corrosion on battery terminals. This can lead to insufficient electrical power and the risk of being stranded. Your service technician will check the battery charge and clean the cables if there are signs of corrosion. They will also ensure cables are securely attached to the terminals.

Be Thankful You Had a Fluid Check

In order to perform at its best, your car needs several fluids in fresh and adequate supply. Your service technician will check:

  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

Cold weather has an impact on your vehicle’s fluids. Maintaining the proper levels is essential in assuring dependable performance and a safe trip.

If you are planning on holiday travel it doesn’t take long to get a routine service check, so make a little time to get these services done. You will be thankful you did!

Wishing you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!