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Broken brakes could break your car


IF SOMEONE had to ask you what the most important component on your car is, you might say it’s your engine, perhaps your tyres or even your suspension. Often we overlook brakes, which are amongst the most important safety features in your car.

It is recommended, at the very least, that you have your vehicle’s braking system checked at least once a year or at every service. During these checks, mechanics usually look for worn brake linings, dashboard warning lights, whether there’s sufficient brake fluid, disc thickness and condition, brake pad wear levels as well as an inspection of the brake hoses.

There are a few ways you can check the condition of your brakes just by driving the car. If your brakes make a grinding noise most of the time it means you need new brake pads. The grinding noise you feel when slamming on the brakes is usually the ABS system working, so do keep that in mind. Remember, driving while the pads are worn not only reduces stopping power it also damages your discs, which are costly items to replace.

Next to check, is the way your brake pedal feels. Should it have lost feeling, vibrate excessively or feel overly hard it may mean that a component within the system needs to be replaced. If the car pulls to one side when braking or if the front end shakes, you would need to have them checked.

If you experience a spongy brake pedal, that’s usually a sign that fluid levels are low or that there’s air in the system. It’s important to note that if a car is using brake fluid, that is usually a sign of brake wear. Check your wheels for brake dust. If your car is producing excessive dust or if it appears to be too little dust, this could mean the brakes need to be repaired. The longevity of your brakes depends on your vehicle, your driving style, the quality of the braking system and its components. These variables are why these parts and factors need to be checked frequently as there isn’t a set period for brake wear.

It’s recommended that your braking system be flushed out every two to three years to ensure efficient operation.

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