Most Common Brake Repairs Your Vehicle May Need
Your car’s brake system is far more than just the pedal. There are several interlocking pieces made of various, smaller components working together found throughout. Depending on your vehicle, a problem with one small piece could inhibit you from braking at all. The following list encompasses some of the more common car brake repairs that your vehicle might need.
- Shoe Replacement
This is a basic maintenance aspect of car brake repairs. Generally, pad replacement is recommended every 20,000 miles to stay on the safe side. Some pads can last up to 50,000 but others wear out around 10,000. Most cars come equipped with a wear indicator that sticks out from the brake pad assembly. You can check this at oil change time to determine if the pads will need replacement soon. If your brakes are squealing or sticking, it’s definitely time to stop by your local brake repair shop.
- Line Replacement
Replacing your lines is more of an emergency-style situation in the field of car brake repairs. Brake lines carry the fluid from your master cylinder (more on that later) throughout the brake system. This fluid keeps everything well lubricated and in working order. It absolutely needs to be clean. Even a pin-sized hole in your brake lines allows for contamination. Dirt in the brake lines can cause huge problems for other parts of the system, and must be avoided. Sometimes, a line can be patched rather than replaced. If you have a bigger hole, you might need new lines. You’ll know if you have a line out because your car will become very hard to stop. At that point, please take safety into consideration and call a tow truck.
- Master Cylinders
These rarely need to be replaced. This component of car brake repairs regulates the pressure of the fluid throughout the entire system. It is comprised of several pistons and valves along with a reservoir for brake fluid. Most cars come with a master cylinder that was built to last through the lifetime of the vehicle. That being said, things do have a tendency to go wrong from time to time. Plastics wear out or dirt gets into the clean system and wreaks havoc on all the tiny pins and pistons. Once this happens, it’s generally better to replace the whole thing rather than try to find out which specific tiny part went wrong.
Bleeding the brake lines refers to the process of draining all the brake fluid out in order to replace it with new fluid. This is usually required when the brake lines have air bubbles or when dirt gets in the system. Brake lines are normally bled after any car brake repairs to ensure that the lines are full of fluid and free of air pockets. Bleeding is recommended if your lines and master cylinder are in top shape but you’re still having trouble braking. Many drivers diagnose this when their brake pedal feels ‘soft’ and requires a lot of pressure to make the car stop.
- Random Part Replacement
This encompasses the final sphere of car brake repairs. As previously stated, a brake system is composed of a vast number of little pieces, big pieces, and varied parts all working in tandem whenever you hit the pedal. The list of parts your car might require is too long to fit all in one place. As an example: worn callipers are a common issue. Callipers hold the brake pad in place. If the pad is worn out, the metal calliper provides the necessary friction. The calliper itself is composed of a larger metal arm, pins, pistons, springs, shims, screws, and boots to keep everything tight. These can degrade if a vehicle hasn’t had pads properly changed or affixed. Any one of these little pieces has the potential to render your brake system unusable—and callipers are just one part of the entire system. Every component within the whole tends to be equally complex.