Tag Archives: Brakes

Don't put off changing brake pads

Don't put off changing brake pads

Out of sight, out of mind. Until you suddenly hear the squealing sound.It's your brake pads, and they're crying to be changed. As with the other components of your car, maintenance is the key to having brakes that do their job, which is a pretty important one, considering that if they go out - and they can - you're putting yourself, and your passengers, in real danger. So when that squeaking sound beckons, take heed. It's time to have your brake pads changed. There are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes, according to J.D. Power. The first is by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor, and there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If there's less, have your mechanic install new pads. The second way you'll know your brakes are near the end of their lives is that familiar squeal they will all of the sudden start making every time you apply your brakes. The sour ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes , brake

What you should know about winter tires

What you should know about winter tires

Winter snows have already started in the Chicago area and careful driving is more important than ever. Do your tires stand up to the challenge? Most drivers today use all-season tires, which do give a smoother, quieter ride than winter tires, also called snow tires. But if you do a lot of driving in heavy snow and ice, a winter tire may be a better choice for you.  Winter tires are manufactured to specifically for cold driving conditions below 45 degrees. Their tread is made to grip the road better with more grooves than all-season tires. The tread is shaped to channel snow, ice and slush away from the tire, giving you more traction and making your vehicle less likely to slide. You’ll also be able to stop better when you put on the brakes. Winter tire treads are designed to operate when the temperature drops below 45 degrees.  Winter tires also help cars with ABS brakes to grip the road better because ABS brakes do not improve traction. It’s important to have ... read more

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Winter

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Brakes , Tires

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line? A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all the road s ... read more

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Brakes

Fuel lines can wear under harsh conditions

Fuel lines can wear under harsh conditions

Q. I was told the other day that my Buick needs to have all the brake lines and fuel line replaced from the front to the back. It's a lot of money and I don't understand why the brake lines have to be done when it was a gas smell that caused me to bring the car in. Can you offer any insight? A. This is actually a fairly common problem today on many cars that have steel fuel and brake lines. It is more common on vehicles that are not kept in a garage. The reason you typically need to replace all the lines is because they are bundled together as they run the length of the car. As soon as you disturb the bundle, the other lines will fall apart. It is actually a good thing your shop caught this before one of the brake lines started leaking because you might have lost some of your braking ability. The replacement of all the lines tends to be a fairly time-consuming repair and that is why it can seem a little bit on the expensive side. Once this repair is made, though, you should ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Rear brakes and emergency brake are not always one in the same

Rear brakes and emergency brake are not always one in the same

Q. I have an S-10 Blazer that I took in for brakes the other day. When I got the call to tell me what was wrong I was shocked by how much it was going to cost. Not only did I need rear brake pads and rotors, which I expected, I needed some kind of a dust shield on both sides and rear emergency brake shoes, too. Does that sound right; I always thought the rear brakes and emergency brake were one in the same? A. Yes, it does sound correct. Most of the GM trucks and sport utility vehicles have this type of rear brake design. Your vehicle has rear disc brakes and then a separate set of emergency brake shoes that contact a surface on the inside of the brake rotor. The dust shield you referred to is designed to keep all the road gunk and debris out of the emergency brake mechanism. This dust shield is also the backing plate for the e-brake shoes. The shoes are mounted to the plate and they need to ride smoothly on it. These backing plates are fairly thin and very exposed to road salt and w ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Brake repairs should be done before winter

Brake repairs should be done before winter

Almost all of the leaves are gone and that means winter, unfortunately, is just around the corner. We still have some time before we need to get serious about prepping the car for winter. So today I want to talk about brakes. Several people have asked me lately about brake concerns. Several folks have asked what could be the reason for a squeal sound when they put a light touch on their brake pedal. The other complaint was a pulsation in the pedal when stopping. The brake squeal could mean they are getting close to the end of the life of their brake pads. Most brake pads have a thin metal tab that starts to touch the brake rotor when the pads wear down. When brake pads near the end of their life, the tab touches the rotor and it creates a high-pitched squeal when rolling at slow speeds or upon light pedal pressure. This noise usually goes away when heavily braking. If you are experiencing this, it would be a good idea to have the brakes checked because the pads may be wearing out ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Squealing noises- What could they mean

Squealing noises- What could they mean

Of all the components that make up your car, brakes should be one of those at the top of your list for maintenance. You certainly don’t want to be on a busy expressway, in rush-hour traffic or anywhere else for that matter, and not be able to stop your vehicle. Ideally you should have your brakes checked on a periodic basis to make sure your brake pads (and possibly the rotors) aren’t worn. Brake pads should last tens of thousands of miles, but our busy lives don’t always let us pay attention to things like mileage, so one way to tell you might need new pads is if you start hearing a squeal whenever you lightly touch the brake pedal. “Most brake pads have a thin metal tab (called a wear indicator) that starts to touch the brake rotor when the pads wear down,” said Doug McAllister, owner of Douglas Automotive in Barrington and Crystal Lake. “When brake pads near the end of their life, it creates a high-pitched squeal when rolling at slow speeds or ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Moisture from your brake fluid can cause failure

Moisture from your brake fluid can cause failure

Q. Over the past few years, I've had an auto repair shop tell me the brake fluid needed to be flushed in the car since the oxidation level was high. Is this something that needs to be done, or is really unnecessary? I've been tinkering with cars for about 35 years, and I don't ever recall this problem in cars of yore. A. Great question! You did not share what kind of car you have or how many miles it has on it, so I will speak to this generally. The brake fluid system of today's automobile is very complex, especially when equipped with traction control and anti-lock brakes. Even if you do not have these features, it is very important that the brake fluid be clean and free of moisture and other contamination. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts moisture. Over time brake fluid will accumulate a certain amount of moisture; a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 20 percent of the cars they tested had brake fluid with 5-p ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Brake plates need to be cleaned of rust

Brake plates need to be cleaned of rust

Q. I have a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe and I've been told the rear disc brakes need to be cleaned of rust and lubricated every 15,000 miles, because of the weather and salt. Is this true or is the dealer making an extra profit? I've asked why the front rotors don't need that service and the dealership told me different metal is used for the front rotors. A. I think you are getting good advice from your dealer on this. The Santa Fe's we have seen do have some fairly significant rust issues on the rear brake system. This rust can create all kinds of issues from noise, sticking calipers, rusted backing plates and emergency brake issues. Regular maintenance will help keep optimal rear brake performance. We do see rust conditions on other cars and trucks as well, but for some reason the Santa Fe seems to have a tendency for this to occur. We see a fair amount of braking plates that rust away on GM trucks and SUVs as well. This used to be a fairly expensive repair but they have ... read more

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Brakes
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