Have you ever stepped on your vehicle’s brake pedal to stop for a red light and heard a grinding noise? That sound is not only unpleasant to your ears, it is also very unpleasant for your checkbook and budget. That sound most likely indicates that brake pads have worn to the extent that the metal plate the pads are mounted on is making contact with the rotors. It is the sound of added repairs and costs since you will not only be replacing the pads but may need the rotors resurfaced or replaced. There are several ways to avoid these costly and unnecessary repairs that take little time and effort.
The simplest way to avoid brake repairs is to avoid using your brakes. Not by using the bumper of the vehicle ahead of you to stop, but by adjusting your driving habits. Just let off the gas pedal sooner and let the compression of the engine slow you down for the stoplight rather than pressing as hard on the brake. When possible leave an adequate cushion of space between your vehicle and those ahead. This defensive driving not only reduces the likelihood of an accident, it will avoid the need for sudden, hard braking.
Another way to reduce unnecessary repairs is to have the brake pads inspected each time the vehicle is serviced. Some shops will routinely provide this service, but don’t take it for granted. It can’t hurt to remind the technician to take a look at the brake pads. Replacing them before they are completely worn down is the key. It is important to remember that all brake jobs are not equal. Spend a little time checking to find a mechanic that does a thorough job. Sticking or leaking brake cylinders, that are not repaired or replaced, will cause pads to wear unevenly and quickly. You will too soon be paying to have them replaced again. If you hear an unusual noise while braking, have it checked out right away. It could save you a bundle.
Remember, KNOWLEDGE is your friend. The more you know about your braking system and how it works, the less likely you are to spend too much for repairs. Take a little time on the Internet or in the auto repair section of your local library to get some general information about your vehicle. An understanding of the basic parts of the brake system and how they function can protect you from being overcharged. You may discover, like I did, that with a little more effort you can replace the brake pads yourself and save even more.
If you are like me, there are a lot of things you would rather spend your earnings on than an expensive and unnecessary brake job. So slow down a little, research a little, and save a lot!