How to look after your brakes
Posted by: Cal on 23/08/2013
Obviously your brakes are an incredibly important part of your vehicle and if they go wrong it can be highly disastrous. Therefore looking after your brakes and keeping an eye on their condition is paramount as you do not want to be caught in a dangerous situation where they fail on you or perform badly on the road.
First of all, here are some warning signs that may signal that your brakes are in bad condition and need to be inspected and seen by a professional.
So you've got some bad brakes
First things first, if your brake warning light flashes then immediately get your car examined as this is a clear indicator something isn't right.
There are other signs to look out for too, though. If you brake and you feel a loss of grip, there may be a problem with your car tyres or the brakes themselves. You may feel like the car is tugging left or right as you brake - again, this could be the brakes or tyres.
When something feels wrong with your brake pedal then that is another warning sign - perhaps it's too loose or too firm. Either way, get it checked!If your steering wheel shudders or your car makes an abnormal noise when braking you should also take heed. Finally, if your car is slow to stop when you apply your brakes then this is a sign that they are failing and should be taken seriously.
How to look after them
Brakes are in use so often and are such a critical part of your car's safety that it's important they are regularly inspected. A professional will be able to assist you in determining if or when they need replacing, as brake pads can wear down and become dangerous.
Don't try to replace or install them yourself. You will need to rely on a professional mechanic for this kind of service as you do not want to make any mistakes with such a critical safety feature.
As always, it's important to drive safely and not to misuse your vehicle by driving dangerously and putting pressure on the braking system through too much speed or harsh braking in unnecessary circumstances. Slow down gradually as often as possible to avoid sudden stops. This can usually be achieved by being aware of your surroundings, looking ahead to traffic lights and roundabouts as well as other vehicles - especially in areas that you already know well.
While your brakes are your car's critical safety feature, they won't do you much good if your tyres are too worn down and you lose grip on a corner, or if you start to hydroplane in heavy rain. For that reason, following good principles of tyre safety is incredibly important.
If you notice that your tyres are wearing down, don't have the correct level of pressure or are punctured or cut then take action immediately to keep your vehicle safe. As with braking, driving carefully is a major factor in looking after your tyres. Driving carefully with a heightened awareness of the road and your surroundings can help to avoid unnecessary damage such as disturbing wheel alignment from potholes, scrapes or bursts from kerbing or punctures from driving over inappropriate obstacles.
It's also essential that you have your vehicle serviced and looked over by professionals regularly to make sure that it is roadworthy. Remember, your safety and the safety of other road users is paramount.