When to Replace Brake Pads

Worn brake pads can adversely impact your ability to bring your car to a halt. This can be especially dangerous in an emergency situation when adequately working brakes are a must to help you stop your car promptly. There are some telltale signs of pending brake problems; do you know what they are? Awareness of a problem is the key to avoiding potential harmful consequences; let’s examine some well known warning signs.

Signs of pending brake trouble include the following:

  • Squealing brakes
  • Pulling of the car from one side to the other
  • Wheel grabs
  • Brake pedal pumping
  • Sudden and hard brake pedal
  • Spongy brake pedals
  • Grinding of the brakes

    While some of these problems may necessitate you replacing other brake components, an inspection of your brake pads should reveal that they are worn and are in need of immediate replacement.

    Your next course of action depends on your expertise, your time, and on your wallet. Most garages offer a free brake inspection and this can be a wonderful opportunity to have someone else inspect your system to confirm your findings.

    Ask your mechanic for a complete diagnosis of your brake system and an estimate on what parts and repairs will cost you. A good garage will give you a print out showing a fairly close estimate of what your costs will be. Throw in your local taxes and the price quoted should be within 95% of the final cost, barring an unforeseen additional problem being detected [for example, brake master cylinder failure].

    If you feel reasonably confident that you can do the work yourself, you stand to save yourself plenty of money, at least in labor costs. You can save money with parts, too, by shopping around; the highest prices you pay will likely be through your dealer’s parts department. Prices at a national auto parts supply store should be lower, while prices through an online wholesaler should be about the lowest available as they purchase directly from the manufacturer.

    If you decide to purchase online, only obtain parts from a reputable dealer selling parts from trusted manufacturers. Be careful of those sites selling generic parts from overseas merchants. Make sure that you can return what you purchase, if needed, to address in based in the U.S.

  • How to Maintain, Diagnose, and Replace Car Batteries

    Batteries are designed with a specific life-span and their performance will decline after this time, requiring they be refurbished or replaced. Car batteries appear to be taking the brunt of the demands from all the impressive advances made in the car industry. Many auto accessories, aftermarket car parts, and high tech car stereos use large amounts of electricity which strains the battery.

    There are steps you can take to extend the life of your battery so that it will not need to be replaced as frequently. Wash the terminals often to ensure they don’t corrode and cause problems with the electrical current. Try using pressurized water, like a hose, and a wire brush for the best results. Also, you may want to purchase a can of foam battery cleaner at your local parts store to help loosen any stuck on dirt.

    Often there will be signs that the battery is beginning to wear out. Maybe the car doesn’t start right away as it once used to, or it needs a jump when sitting idle for just a few days. When you start noticing such signs, check first to make sure the cables are still secure and have not come loose from the battery. The needless shaking in car batteries may cause cells to deteriorate, which has the effect of diminishing the operating life of your battery.

    If your battery is truly dead and can’t be revived, you will need to go to an auto parts store for a replacement battery. If you don’t know the battery type your car requires, there are several ways to find out. All batteries should have a “group size” number on printed on them to help with replacement. But if not, your auto parts store will have a manual where you can look up the correct battery type for your car by vehicle make and model.

    If you need assistance with the installation of the battery, do not hesitate to ask an employee for help. The people that work in these stores are experts in car repairs and will be happy to assist you. However, some auto parts stores charge a fee for this service, so be sure to ask prior to the installation of your new car battery.