How Often Should My Brakes Be Checked?

Is It Time to Check Your Brakes?

Is It Time to Check Your Brakes?

Most of us know that routine maintenance helps your vehicle stay reliable for a longer time, but it also helps you stay safe on the road. One way it does this is through ensuring proper brake function. Keep reading to find out just how often you should have your brakes looked at, and what maintenance might look like for you.

A Primer on Brakes.

Most brakes found in vehicles today are disc brakes. When you press the brake pedal, a set of calipers, equipped with pads, squeezes a rotor (the disc). The pads create friction with the rotor to slow your vehicle. It’s a hydraulic system that relies on a steady flow of brake fluid.

If any one of those components isn’t working properly, the entire system can fail. The usual culprits of poor braking performance, however, are your brake pads. They should be at least a quarter of an inch thick. The pads wear down over time and, if not changed, can lead to more expensive problems, like a damaged rotor.

Location Matters.

Crowded areas are worse than others when it comes to traffic. Congested roads require a lot of stopping, starting, slowing and veering, which can put a lot of stress on your brakes. That means they’ll likely need servicing sooner than a vehicle used mainly in, say, a flat rural area.

Keeping that in mind, it’s always a good idea to have your brakes checked whenever you have your tires rotated — typically every six months. If you’re a more aggressive driver, you might even want to have them checked more frequently than that, like with every oil change. It’s also important that you pay attention to what your brakes might be trying to tell you between your regular servicing intervals.

Warning Signs.

If your brake light comes on, then it’s time to have your brakes examined. And if you notice it’s taking longer to come to a complete a stop, you should have them looked at as soon as possible. You may also notice a vibrating sensation when applying your brakes. That generally indicates a brake pad issue, though it could also point to an alignment problem.

Many brakes come with a built-in indicator that’s designed to squeal or screech when the pads are wearing thin. While the sound may be annoying, it can save you a lot of money down the road. That’s because, if you change your pads when you’re supposed to, you won’t have to hear that metal-on-metal sound. When you do hear that sound, it’s because your pads have worn down completely and your calipers are now grinding against your rotors whenever you press your brake pedal. It can quickly turn an inexpensive fix into an expensive one.

Be Smart. Be Vigilant. Be Safe.

At Scott Will Toyota, we’re committed to providing our customers with more than a great selection of vehicles — we strive to provide them with impeccable service as well. That commitment goes beyond our showroom to include our service bays. We want to ensure that you and your loved ones arrive safely to wherever you drive to. That means your brakes need to be in good shape. You can count on your friends at Scott Will Toyota to take care of that for you.

If you think it’s time to get your brakes checked, contact us or stop by our dealership, Scott Will Toyota, located at 2542 Broad Street, Sumter, SC 29150. As always, we look forward to serving our customers from Sumter, SC, and throughout Cherryvale, Britton, Mayesville and Ashwood.