Auto Repair & Services
Usually, automotive brakes are just something we take for granted, just like we take it for granted that when we turn the key, the engine is going to start. But the average driver puts 12-15,000 miles per year on a vehicle, which comes out to stepping on the brake pedal about 75,000 times over that year!
The principle behind automotive disc brakes is similar to how bicycle hand brakes work. Your wheels are physically bolted to smooth steel discs called rotors, and a caliper is then bolted to the rotor. The caliper holds the brake pads, and when you step on the brake pedal, hydraulic force clamps the pads onto the surface of the rotor, slowing the vehicle down by friction.
Brake pads’ friction material is a hard semi-metallic or ceramic compound. It takes 40-60,000 miles for the friction material to wear down to a point where the brakes need replacement. That slow wear is what makes it hard to notice poorer braking performance. These are all trouble signs, though:
- Longer stopping distances
- Tendency for one or more wheels to lock up and skid while braking
- Noticeable pull to one side while braking
- Pulsation or vibration that can be felt through brake pedal
- Longer brake pedal travel toward floor
- Brake pedal feels “soft” or “spongy” underfoot
- Brake pedal slowly goes to floor while holding the vehicle stopped, in gear
- Squealing, groaning or metal-to-metal grinding noise while braking
Of all these, the metallic grinding sound is by far the worst. It means that either your brakes’ wear indicators (spring-steel tabs) are dragging on the rotors, or that the pads are worn to a point where the backing plates are exposed. If that’s the case, the rivets and backing plates are digging into the surface of the rotors, ruining them, and your only braking ability is from metal-to-metal contact!
Get quality brake repairs at Free Service Tire Company, Inc.
Make an appointment with us at Free Service Tire Company in Kingsport, TN if you’ve noticed any of these problems with your vehicle. Your brakes ought to be inspected at least twice a year – don’t take chances!