When asked about the poor braking on his cars, Ettore Bugatti, legendary engineer and designer of the famous Bugatti sports cars, reportedly said, “We make them to go, not to stop.” Fortunately modern vehicles manufactures are far more concerned with your safety. But you do need to maintain your vehicle's brake system if it is to perform safely.
Brakes are a normal “wear and tear” item for any car, with heavy emphasis on the “wear”. Eventually, your brake system parts are going to need replacement for performance and safety reasons.
Routine brake inspections and brake maintenance can save you money in the long run by preventing “collateral” damage. Worn out brake pads can cause serious damage to brake rotors and brake calipers... and possible body damage because you were unable to stop as soon as you should have... or thought you could have.
Safe Brake Repairs
All “brake service repairs” are not created equal. We all have seen incredibly low prices for brake service but they may not be the “deal” you think your getting. At Joe’s Garage Inc we know that the little details add up to a big difference in long term costs.
Our routine brake repair includes a thorough inspection of all brake system components, brake pads, brake rotors, brake calipers, brake wheel cylinders, brake hoses and brake lines. No shortcuts here because every component is equally important to your braking safety.
We clean and lubricate all wear points to factory specifications. Any sticking points can cause premature brake pad wear, or worse, brake pull and loss of control in emergency stops. These are the details that are left out of low-cost brake jobs and end up costing you more in the long run due to shorter brake life and more frequent brake pad replacement.
In the old days, resurfacing brake rotors was used to eliminate brake pulsation from warped rotors. Today most manufacturers recommend replacing rather than resurfacing due to brake rotors being much thinner than brake disks used on older vehicles. Also, brake pad friction material is much more abrasive and wear rotors down to minimum thickness safety limits much faster.
There are many options for replacement brake pads and we provide choices based on the vehicle, your driving habits, and your expectations of your vehicle. Certainly, we can do a “quick ‘n’ fast” cheap brake repair... but, we are confident, you will be much happier (and safer!) if we do it correctly the first time.
Regular brake inspections can also catch problems before they become serious brake safety issues. A cracked brake lining can separate from metal backing causing brake failure or wheel lockup.
Routine brake maintenance will also save you from expensive brake repairs. A simple brake fluid flush prevents having to prematurely replace your brake calipers, brake wheel cylinders, brake master cylinders and expensive anti lock brake parts.
Why should you do brake fluid flush? Why do many vehicle manufactures state that brake system warranty is void if a brake fluid change is not done at regular intervals? Brake fluid has some very important requirements...
Just the facts... you will save money (and possibly your life) if you do a brake fluid flush every 3 years or 36,000 miles.
For those who want more details of why... keep reading:
- Brake fluid gets incredibly hot and requires a high boiling point. During average driving conditions temperatures will be 100°F to 200°F. But, with more demanding conditions, such as driving through mountains or heavy highway braking, when you need them the most, temperatures can exceed 250°F.
- If one or more of your brake linings is not releasing fully (dragging), brake fluid temperature can spike to well over 300°F causing the brake fluid to boil. The air formed by boiling will cause your braking power to fade and quickly result in total brake failure.
- Increased moisture levels in brake fluid decreases brake fluid boiling temperature. Just like condensation forms on a cool drinking glass on a hot summer day, condensation forms inside the brake hydraulic system as temperatures cycle up and down during normal operation. Also, brake fluid naturally absorbs moisture through microscopic pores in rubber hoses, past seals and exposure to moisture in the air. The problem is obviously worse in high humidity climates. After 18 months, the level of moisture can increase significantly and dramatically increase the risk of brake failure.
- Moisture also increases the risk of expensive brake repairs caused by corrosion and deterioration of brake parts. If risk of brake failure isn’t enough of a reason routine brake maintenance will minimize expensive brake repairs. Since the mid 90’s most vehicles have Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS). The ABS system is very complex and uses many expensive parts that are easily damaged by moisture contamination. The last thing you want is for moisture to cause some very expensive brake repairs.
A number of import car makers recommend or require routine preventive maintenance brake fluid change at specific time/mileage intervals:
- Acura: 36 months
- Audi: 24 months
- BMW: 24 months, or when indicated by Service Inspection Indicator
- Honda: 36 months
- Jaguar: 24 months (all models except 2009 XF at 36 months)
- Land Rover: 36 months
- Lexus: 36 months or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first
- Mercedes-Benz: 24 months
- MINI: 24 months
- Saab: 48 months (all models except 9-7X)
- Smart: 24 months or 20,000 miles, which ever comes first
- Subaru: 30 months or 30,000 miles (normal service) or 15 months/15,000 miles (severe service).
- Suzuki: 24 months or 30,000 miles, which ever comes first (Forenza & Reno), 60 months or 60,000 miles (Grand Vitara and SX4).
- Volkswagen: 24 months (New Beetle, City Gold, City Jetta), 36 months (all other models except Routan).
- Volvo: 24 months or 37,000 miles (Normal), or 12 months (severe service).
Domestic Vehicle Manufacturers:
- General Motors and Chrysler do not mention brake fluid in their maintenance schedule.
- Ford was recommending flushing the brake fluid every 36,000 miles or 3 years... however, currently, Ford no longer has time or mileage recommendation for flushing brake fluid.
The decision to perform preventive maintenance is up to you. I’m not an engineer nor am I running a test lab. But, we do work on a lot of vehicles every day, the bulk of which are 3 to 8 years old, and not a day goes by that we don’t see the costly effects of poor maintenance. In my experience, proper, common sense maintenance is worth it. Once we get “inside” a brake system, or any other area of your vehicle, we can clearly see the ones that are “dying” a slow death, or the ones that have many miles of “life” remaining. Many vehicle owners will play the odds like the cigarette smoker who says “I’ve been smoking for years and hasn’t hurt me yet”. Well, we’re like the lung cancer surgeons clearly see the consequences of “poor health maintenance”. So you now have enough information to make the brake repair decision that is best for you.