When the term “vehicle maintenance” comes to mind, most people think about parts that require a whole lot of care more than anything else—such as engines, radiators, tires, and the like. 

Throughout your car ownership experience, you’ve most likely picked up different kinds of habits that have allowed you to keep your trusty four-wheeler in tip-top shape. Over time, these same practices have paid dividends in terms of keeping your trips smooth and safe. After all, regular maintenance goes a long way regardless of the car one is driving. 

However, did you know that you’ll also need to uphold the same level of maintenance for your brakes

What Are Brakes, and How Do They Work?

By now, you’ve probably already fully understood just how critical brakes are for your safety on the road. However, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and refresh your knowledge.

Brakes are an integral part of your car’s safety and handling systems. They ensure that you have the necessary level of command needed to control your vehicle. The importance of braking systems, as a whole, now extends to the fact that they are broken down into three sub-systems, namely: anti-lock brake systems (ABS), service brakes, and emergency (or parking) brakes

In today’s vehicles, these key components can come in a drum or disc-style assembly, depending on the trim or model of a car. The two types of brakes are defined as follows: 

  • Disc brakes: This type of assembly uses calipers, brake rotors, and brake pads. Each disc brake has a brake pad on both sides that push against the brake rotor when pressure is applied to the brake pedal
  • Drum brakes: This type of assembly uses a system that is enclosed within the wheel cylinder and paired with brake shoes. With this system, stopping a car involves slowing down with the latter component pressing against the drum when pressure is applied to the brake pedal

How Do You Start with Maintenance?

If you’re looking to stay on top of your car’s brake system maintenance, then here’s some good news: it’s a fairly simple process. To help you make sense of the process, let’s break it up into different parts:

Pads and Rotors

Much like the pistons, blocks, rods, and valves in an engine assembly, pads and rotors are the essential components of your braking system, which provides it with the ability to stop and slow as it should.

The best way to define both of these parts is that they are the points at which the braking system connects with the tires. Given that both your car’s pads and rotors are subjected to the stress of extreme friction, they tend to wear a lot more quickly and bear the need for regular inspections and timely maintenance.

So, when should you replace them? While the exact figures depend on the way you drive, best practice dictates that you should change them either every two to three years or every 30,000 to 40,000 miles!

Fluid

Aside from pads and rotors, you also need to maintain and monitor the fluid that helps run everything (similar to how engines require oil)!

Every single car’s brake system relies on a good serving of hydraulic fluid—commonly referred to as brake fluid—which flows through the brake lines to provide the power or force necessary to bring a vehicle to a stop. When it comes to maintenance, it is necessary to drain and replace brake fluid periodically because it absorbs moisture from the air and degrades over time!

So, when should you replace it? Typically, brake fluid should be changed out every year and a half to two years if you’re a driver that likes to base things on time. In terms of distance, a change every 15,000 to 20,000 miles is recommended!

Conclusion

Vehicle ownership entails paying as much attention to maintenance as possible across all parts of your car. This attention to detail is especially applicable is your brakes. By taking note of the critical points mentioned above, you’ll be able to ensure that you have the smoothest and safest drive possible regardless of where you’re going, how you drive, or how often you drive!

If you’re looking to replace your brake pads, brake rotors, and brake fluid sometime soon, then it’s recommended that you let an expert such as Hoover Automotive’s professional mechanics help you out! If you need brake service in Hoover, AL, as soon as possible, Hoover Automotive’s experts are here to help. Get in touch with us today!

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