Routine brake checks help keep your vehicle safe

Some warning signs never flash across your vehicle dashboard. Problems such as squeals or a vibrating brake pedal could be your car’s way of pleading for service. 

“Minor symptoms should not be ignored,” said Pat McCleish, tech line manager for Centric Parts, the company behind StopTech brakes. “If you notice the brake pedal is a little softer than it usually is, get it checked out, don’t just ignore it because the brakes still appear to work correctly.

“Anytime you notice changes in the performance and feel of the brakes, get it checked out.”

Vehicle brake systems should be checked at least every 10,000 miles--or every time you have your tires rotated, McCleish said. A note of caution: check your vehicle owner’s manual since all manufacturers have different recommendations.

“Most components in the brake system are wearable items and repair typically involves replacement of at least some of the components,” McCleish said.

For example, brake pads wear out faster than rotors, the large metal discs that are part of the wheel assembly. Rotors typically do need to be replaced at every pad change unless there has been abnormal wear or cracks, McCleish said.

Purchasing quality materials also extends the life of your brakes, he said.

“Choose premium quality brake components, they cost a bit more up-front but will generally result in longer life, saving you money in the long run,” McCleish said.

McCleish also had the following suggestions for brake reapair and longevity:

-Check your vehicle brake system regularly, at least every time you have tires rotated. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for vehicle-specific recommendations.

-Don’t ignore warning signs. Squeals and vibrations can be an indication of brake trouble. Warning lights on the dashboard or messages on your display screen should be addressed promptly.

-Drive defensively. Aggressive driving puts unnecessary strain on brakes and can wear them out faster.

-Don’t skimp on brakes or replacement parts. Quality components last longer and perform better.