National Car Care Month means it's time to look again at important considerations for keeping your old (and new) car in the best shape possible.
Sure it's important to keep your engine healthy by practicing regular oil changes. Very important to improve gas mileage through simple practices like keeping your tires at the correct pressure. A good idea to use a fuel additive for ethanol that will help solve ethanol fuel problems.
But none of this means anything if you're driving your car and you can't stop. Brake pads and shoes wear out over time. Thankfully, brakes aren't usually the kind of thing that go from healthy to zero overnight. It's very rare that you have no warning that your brakes need servicing.
Most of us have heard our brakes squeal some when we are stopping. What does this mean? It means your brake pads are getting thin. It doesn't mean you have no padding left, but it's a built-in warning indicator to tell you to think about having them looked at (or look at them yourself).
Brake pads have built-in wear indicators. When the pads get too thin, these indicator make contact with the rotors and produce that squealing. This squealing does not go away and even turns into grinding as the pad gets thinner and thinner and the wear indicator rubs more and more against the motor. By the time you hear grinding occuring, your rotor is probably worn enough that it may need to be replaced. So it will save you money if you get your brakes looked at before the grinding starts and you have buy new rotors.
This post was published on April 27, 2012 and was updated on October 19, 2020.