What Happens During A Brake Inspection?

Most car owners are aware of the role their brakes play in a vehicle. However, many are unaware of what components make up the braking system and what happens when they take their car in for an inspection. Before getting into what goes on during a brake inspection, it is essential to know what the brake system is made up of. Most BMW’s, especially newer models all utilize four-wheel disc brakes. Disc brakes offer better stopping power and are more reliable. The disc brake system includes brake pads, rotors, calipers, hoses, a master cylinder, and brake booster. The disc brake system is quite simple. When you press the brake pedal the two brake pads that side inside the caliper clamp against the rotor. The firmer you push the pedal, the harder they clasp.

Older model vehicles might be equipped with drum brakes on the rear. Drum brakes work similar to the disc brake system. However, they aren’t as reliable. They have a housing called the drum and use brake shoes that press against the drum to stop the vehicle. Since many cars are now equipped with the disc brake system, we’ll focus on what happens during a disc brake inspection.

Over time the parts of the brake system, specifically the brake pads, will wear down. Brake pads must be changed to prevent premature damage to the rotors or caliper malfunction. Many of the brake pads made today have a wear indicator installed. It alerts drivers that it is time for them to be changed. The wear indicator will make a high pitched squeak noise. Other parts of the brake system can give clues to problems they might have, which makes diagnosing the issue a little easy. For instance, if a caliper sticks it will make a bad burning smell and sometimes produce smoke because of the friction. If the brake pedal isn’t feeling as firm as it once was, this might indicate a lower level of brake fluid that needs to be filled.

Brake repair and service is very common in automotive shops. It is a service that has to be done for a vehicle to remain safe on the road. A brake inspection can be done at the shop of Ryan GMW – come, visit us at our repair shop! Curious about what happens during a brake inspection? Here is a list of components that are inspected to ensure everything is working correctly and if anything needs to be replaced.

  • Check brake pads for wear and access how much is left on the pads
  • Check rotors for even wear and warpage
  • Check brake fluid, fill if needed
  • Inspect brake lines

When a technician looks at your vehicle, they will probably inspect the brake fluid level first. Often many of the problems with brakes can be related to low brake fluid. Moving on from the master cylinder, its wheels will be taken off to inspect the workings of the disc brake system. It will include the brake pads, rotors, and calipers. A technician will determine how much of the brake pad is left and if the wear is normal. If something is wrong such as a warped rotor, stuck caliper, or uneven wear of the pads and rotors, they will let you know that those items need to be replaced.

Brake inspection is the first line of defense in keeping your vehicle’s stopping power at optimal performance. BMW service Roseville CA auto shop Ryan GMW can inspect any brakes and repair or replace parts that need to be changed. If noises or changes in how your vehicle stops are noticed, it might be time to take it in for a brake inspection.

6 Factors That Affect How Long The Brake Pads Last

Brake pads are one of the primary and most known components of the braking system of your car. They are one of the least expensive parts to have changed and a super important for your safety. To keep your brake pads lasting longer below are six factors that can make an impact on how long your pads will last.

Brake Pad Material

Brake pads come in a few options including:

• Metallic
• Semi Metallic
• Organic
• Synthetic (Ceramic)

While each one of these will work on any vehicle, you get what you pay for. The least expensive options are metallic and semi metallic. With the advances in brakes and difference in cost, metallic brakes have become almost obsolete. For the longest lasting option on the market, ceramic is the best choice.

How You Use The Brakes

If you are a ride the break type of driver, you will obviously notice that you have to replace brake pads much more frequently. One of the best practices you can do is coast and maintain a distance. Coasting will allow you to maintain speed, which is nice for MPG’s, but it will also help with the longevity of your brakes.

A Caliper Malfunction

If a caliper is stuck, a brake pad will constantly be rubbing the rotor. It will in turn run down a brake pad very quickly. It can also affect the rotors as well. If you are having a burning smell coming from your brakes, it is entirely possible that a stuck caliper is causing a problem, and will end up needing replacement as well as brake pad replacements. This issue will keep occurring if the caliper problem is not corrected.

Manual vs. Automatics, The Usage Difference

Manual drivers will drive much differently than those who have an automatic. This is in large part due to being able to downshift to slow a vehicle. This is called engine braking. Automatics don’t have this same luxury and require using the brakes any time they need to slow down or stop. In general, if a person is a good at driving a manual, they potentially can see brake pads last much longer than that of an automatic vehicle.

Putting New Brake Pads on Bad Rotors

As fascinating as it may be to just put new brake pads on when they need to be changed. If you are told that your rotors need a replacement, it is an expense you should have done. A warped or worn out rotor can wear down brake pads quickly. So while you think you are saving money just replacing the pads, it will cost you more, because the brake pads are going to need to be changed much sooner. In addition to brake pad wear, a warped or worn rotor can also affect your stopping ability.

Trigger Happy on the Brake Pedal

Often when people are driving along, the person in front of them will apply their brake. For some reason or another, an instant thought of having to use the brake hits. Even if it is not necessary to do so, some people’s reaction is just to do what the person ahead of them does. Instead, as you are driving, maintain a healthy distance between you and the car in front, and only brake when you need to, and not just because you are following the leader.

Changing the Brake Fluid

One of the least thought of things that can affect your brake pads is the brake fluid. To help your pads last longer, it is a very good idea to have your brake fluid bled and flushed. Especially if you have an older vehicle, it can help with keeping the components of your braking system healthy.