Ensure Road Safety with a Properly Functioning Brake System
A properly functioning braking system can make the difference between life and death. A problem that seems very small such as a brake line that is rusty or a brake hose that has cracked can make it unsafe for one to drive a car as the brakes can fail without warning. It is therefore important for one to check the performance of the brakes regularly, especially if the car has been dormant for a while. There are many warning signs that can indicate a problem with the brake system. These include low levels of brake fluid, a very spongy or very hard brake pedal, dragging brakes, the pedal pulsates or goes very far down and brakes smell as though they are burning or make any noise such as squeaking, grinding and screeching. If the warning lights of the brake come on when driving, this should also be considered a warning.
Spongy or low brakes can be as a result of leaking brake fluid. To check for a leak in the brake fluid, one should locate the master cylinder of the brake; usually situated in the firewall vicinity behind the engine compartment. On locating it, one can then open it and check inside to determine the fluid level. The nuts connecting the brake booster and the master cylinder are loosened and the seal enclosing the push rod observed. Any brake fluid leak will obviously be noted. The calliper piston should also be checked for leaks and the brake hoses examined for cracks. A wet calliper may be a sign of a leak of the brake fluid. The master cylinder cap should be tight and one should check for any signs of leakage. One can also check for leakage of brake fluid by driving the car onto a sheet, a large cardboard piece or a blanket and tap the brakes hard, then repeat the process for a number of times. If brake fluid can be observed on the surface, then there is leakage.
Braking problems usually arise out of neglect and it is important to conduct a regular check up. The highest braking system performance is usually ensured by an optimal pad depth. Once a problem is noted, then it is time to for the braking pads to be changed. It is important for one to own a tool kit for the task. Most of the time, it is the front pads which are changed. Wearing of the brake pads can be observed by looking at them from outside the front tire. If the depth of the pad less than a quarter of an inch it should be replaced soon. If it is less than an eighth then the rotor is in danger of being damaged and the brake pad should be changed as soon as possible. Noises are also an indication of that the brake pads need to be changed. This is a fairly straightforward process. First of all, loosen the wheel lug nuts, and then jack the car off the ground. The lug nuts are then removed together with the wheel. The bolts are then removed while care is taken not to move the calliper. The pads are inside the calliper and if they seem worn out then change them. Note that it is important to always take your car to the mechanic for a regular check up.