The braking system is responsible for your safety under normal driving conditions and that means it needs to be in tip-top shape at all times. While that likely isn’t new information to any driver, there’s no clear mileage marker to indicate when you need new brakes. Fortunately the brakes themselves can give you an obvious sign they need attending to. Here are a few tell-tale signs you need new brakes.
- Unresponsiveness – If your brakes are just unresponsive or the pedal sinks to the floor, there could be a problem in the system. There could be an air leak in the hose or brake fluid could be leaking. Either way, you will want to make a service appointment as soon as possible.
- Vibrations – A vibrating brake pedal is far from normal and is a clear sign for worry. While there isn’t anything to worry about when the anti-lock brakes are engaged during hard braking, vibrations under normal circumstances could be a sign of warped rotors. Common causes of warped rotors include towing or driving down steep hills.
- Pulling – If your car pulls to one side when braking, there isn’t much to worry about but it definitely warrants a visit to a dealership’s service department. The brake linings could be wearing unevenly or there could be something in the brake fluid. Make an appointment to find out!
If you have a vehicle, you need to perform regular maintenance on it in order to keep it healthy and prevent high repair costs in the long-term. However, car owners are faced with a tough choice when it comes to deciding where their vehicle should be serviced. Should you go to the dealership service department, or the potentially more affordable independent mechanic? We say you get what you pay for—and you should go for the dealer.
The best thing about going to the dealership for service is that they know your car. Independent mechanics aren’t trained to specialize in your make and model of car, and could make costly mistakes when working with parts they’re unfamiliar with. Dealership service technicians know the brand of your vehicle inside and out and will be more reliable in that regard.
Additionally, at a dealership service department you’re going to get factory-backed OEM parts. OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer,” which means your car is receiving replacements of the same parts it came with. Independent mechanics might use generic “aftermarket parts” that are cheaper, but often less effective.
What if you’ve already used an independent mechanic, and aren’t sure if your vehicle’s warranty still counts at the dealership service department? The good news is that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 made it so that, except in rare cases, dealers must still honor the warranty, so you are welcome to come back without judgment.
Summer is rolling around and with the warm weather comes a perfect excuse to roll the car out of the garage and do a bit of maintenance. Before you head on that beautiful sunlit trip you’ve been planning, make sure to get your car ready for summer with the tips below!
Check tires and tire pressure
First thing first: if you are still using winter tires, swap them out for all-season or summer tires right away. Secondly, check the wear using the tried-and-true penny test. Finally, check the tire pressure. These significantly affect handling and wear and only the correct pressure will give you optimal performance.
Check the air conditioning system
There’s nothing worse than having a car that won’t cool down in the summer. Run the A/C for a bit to see that it still blows cold, while checking for unusual odors or noises.
Check the coolant
If there is anything worse than the above, it has to be an overheating engine. Coolant should be changed at least once a year and there’s possibly no better time to do it than right before the summer.
Clean the car
Grime from melted snow and road salt make winters particularly harsh on a car, and not just the exterior, but everything from the engine to the brake lines. Thoroughly wash your car on a sunny weekend to minimize the damage, or take it to a car wash to get a detail.