Brake performance on vehicles of recent years is significantly improved, as is the service life of braking system parts. Unfortunately consumer attitude toward preventive maintenance has not kept pace with technology. A national consumer survey showed vehicle neglect is on the rise even though nearly half of motorists ranked brake failure as their number one fear among driving emergencies.
Surprisingly, notes the Car Care Council, less than 20% identified brakes as a system to be checked regularly.
Whether or not your vehicle's brakes are inspected periodically, as they should be, be aware of the signs of brake trouble and take corrective measures at once.
Listen for unusual noises when brakes are applied. To improve hearing, try applying brakes at slow speeds with windows down.
Note: Brake work performed in time saves money as well as lives. Some owners, to squeeze extra miles out of their worn brake pads, have been known to disable the "chirper" (mentioned earlier.) This is a classic case of false economy, warns the Council. In addition to affecting driving safety, metal-to-metal wear of rotors or drums adds hundreds of dollars to a brake system overhaul.
If brake fluid needs topping off frequently, find and correct the leak.
If brakes pull to one side, if they shudder or if the pedal pulsates, have a qualified technician check out the trouble.
If the pedal "fades", feels spongy or falls to the floor under steady foot pressure, take the vehicle in for service.
Invest in the best quality brake work you can obtain. It's an excellent form of insurance.