With families readying the kids for back to school, organizing car-pool duties, and prioritizing what needs to be done and when following the end of summer, now is an excellent time to pay attention to the family car's brakes.
Next week, August 20-28, is designated as Brake Safety Awareness Week. The Car Care Council recommends a brake system check by a professional to ensure the family car stops as it’s supposed to.
The upcoming back-to-school deadline also coincides with the start of changeable weather patterns. With rainy and snowy conditions in the near future, brakes will be getting a workout. The best strategy is to be proactive and have someone who’s trained to spot and repair brake problems take care of the work.
Although brakes should be checked at least once a year, experts recommend that you be on the lookout for the following warning signs indicating potential trouble:
- Severe pulling to the left or the right
- Odd noises when applying the brakes
- Brake grabbing
- Low pedal feel
- Illumination of the brake warning light
Routine maintenance of the braking system includes a thorough inspection covering wear on the brake lining, rotor thickness, brake fluid level, brake and dash warning lights, and condition of hoses and brake lines. The annual brake inspection should also include a test drive to allow the professional to detect any other potential problems with the brake system.
Remember that how you drive affects wear on your brakes. Jamming on the brake pedal, keeping your foot on it, and using the brakes when going downhill instead of downshifting, all take a toll. Weather and road conditions, the type of vehicle you drive, and the quality of brake lining material also affects brake wear.
If scheduling time to have the brakes checked is a problem, why not make an appointment to have it done while you’re out shopping at the mall for back-to-school things? That way, you can cross two items off your to-do list at the same time.