Essential Brake Checks And Maintenance For Summer – A South African Perspective

With summer coming into full swing in South Africa, we need to make sure we check our brakes and ensure that we have our maintenance up to date.

Different weather conditions can affect your brakes differently. Summer weather brings some late afternoon showers here in sunny SA and this can cause some congested traffic, with additional hazards of having to brake instantly behind a slow-moving truck or vehicle.

“Your brakes are the single most important safety feature on your car. Don’t put yourself or your family at risk this summer by riding around on worn down or faulty brakes.”

Essential Brake Checks For Summer – South Africa

Checking your brakes and maintaining them for summer, can sometimes be tricky business if you don’t know what to look out for.

Here are some signs that your brakes need to be checked:

  • Your brake pedal becomes very soft and mushy – it feels spongy when applied
  • Your brake pedal is very hard and resistant – brake pedal can stick when applied
  • Your brake pedal depresses with a lot more effort than usual
  • Your brake pedal rests too low or too high
  • Indication or warning lights on the dashboard – appearance of warning lights recently
  • Loud and constant scraping and grinding sounds coming from the brakes
  • Vibrating steering wheel when applying brakes
  • Your vehicle veers when brakes are applied

Squealing brakes may not indicate a sign of a problem. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including moisture on the brake pads, discs, shoes and drums.

Essential Brake Maintenance For Summer – South Africa

“The brakes on your vehicle are important, but do you know how they work? The brakes operate hydraulically, meaning they use fluid to transfer the power of your foot on the pedal to the actual brakes on the wheels. The master cylinder is the starting point of that power flow. If the master cylinder is faulty, it cannot exert enough power to push the fluid to the brakes, so you should always inspect the master cylinder and brake lines for damage. Additionally, the brake fluid should be inspected for cleanliness.

Brake callipers, pads and rotors all work together to stop your vehicle. When you step on your brake pedal, the master cylinder sends fluid to the brake callipers which squeeze together, exerting pressure on the brake pads. It’s important to have the callipers inspected often for signs of wear or damage.

When the callipers squeeze, the brake pads clamp down on the rotors in order to slow your car. If your brake pads are worn, they can’t make a smooth connection with the rotors and this can actually damage your rotors with rough spots and uneven grooves. Rotor repairs can be very costly so always make sure your brake pads are sized to specifications and that they’re not worn down too far. Most brake pads come with wear indicators that will make a squealing sound to let you know it’s time for replacement. It’s best to replace them before you hear a squeal and check your brake rotors often to be sure that there is no irregular wear or damage.

Sticking to the schedule specified in your owner’s manual is what is best for your vehicle. If you notice the brake pedal too soft or too hard, make sure to schedule an appointment so we are able to check for the cause of the issue, and fix it. By catching an issue at the first sign, you can save time, money, and stress in the long run.”

Essential Brake Checks And Maintenance For Summer – South Africa

Wet brakes can be less responsive, especially in thunderstorms and rain. “Hot weather can increase the temperature of your brake system, causing your pads to wear more quickly. You will want to keep an eye on how worn yours are.”

To have your brakes assessed and ensure that they are summer ready, click here for a free quote!

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