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Car Care Tip: What to Know Before a Brake Job

Learn What Questions to Ask Your Auto Shop Before Brake Repairs.

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Old brake pads on the left vs. New brake pads on the right.

We understand taking your vehicle in for repair or maintenance can seem like an unexpected hassle and cost. A good repair shop will only have your best interest in mind.  Here is what you need to know about your brakes when heading in for a brake job:

  1. Thin Does Not Mean Dangerous – Depending on your vehicle, most new brake pads have a thickness between 1/4th and 3/16th of an inch. These pads may look “dangerously thin,” but they are actually appropriate for most passenger vehicles. Heavier dutier vehicles and trucks may require thicker pads, but modern, lighter vehicles actually use these thinner pads. Brake pads and shoes that have reached the end of their life will be dusty, dirty and grimy. Ask the service manager to see your own brakes and to compare them to a set of new pads and shoes. Use your senses when examining your brakes.
  2. Brakes Can Be A Warning Sign – There may be some problems in the vehicle which can cause premature wear-and-tear on your brakes. If your auto repair specialist suggests your brake pads and shoes are thinning quicker than average, ask them to make sure there are no other problems going on.
  3. Consider You Braking Style –  Do you tend to accelerate and then aggressively step on the brakes?  Or do you slowly coast into most stops? Aggressive braking can cause pads and shoes to wear quickly. Pay attention to other warning signs such as squeaking and chirping noises. These warning signs suggest the pads are wearing thin and need to be replaced soon. If these signs are ignored, the squeaking can turn into a grinding noise which indicates the brakes have worn down to the metal base which can cause grooves in the rotors.
  4. Ask Yourself – If you typically keep your car outside exposed to the elements, understand the weather will affect most of your vehicle’s systems. If you must park outside, have your brakes checked regularly to make sure they will function properly during snowy and rainy conditions.

Finally, hold on to receipts and invoices from your auto shop so you can remember which services were performed and when.  Keeping a record of car repair and maintenance services will help you feel more in control of your car repairs.  Call any of our 12 Rad Air locations to answer your questions about auto repairs and brake jobs!

Have a question about your brakes or any other vehicle component?  Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to contact@radair.com!