How To Check Your Brakes

July 26, 2019 11:39 am Published by

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Cost: Free minus tools

Required tools: Tape measure and compass

It goes without saying that keeping your brakes in good condition is immensely important. There are few components of your car that are as crucial as your brakes, and if you don’t take care of them, you can wind up in some seriously sticky situations. There are two main components of your brakes, your brake pads and your rotors. Your brake pads are pretty much industrial grade abrasives that grip and hold onto your rotor to slow down the rotation of your tires. If you want to learn more about how you can take care of your brakes or want to find the best prices on parts in town, come into your local U Pull And Pay today.

Test Your Brakes

The first step you should take when assessing your brakes is to see how well they function in a daily driving situation. If you haven’t driven your car in a while or if you had it stored away in the garage for the winter, make sure that you start with the basics and move your way up. Start by simply driving your car up and down your street, taking the time to pump the brakes and slowly work your way up to about 30 mph and brake to a complete stop. Your pedal should feel smooth with no pulsation. If you feel any pulsation in the pedal that is a sign that your rotor could be warped and in need of milling. Once your brakes pass this first test, try taking your car up to highway speeds and try braking. Once again, you should feel no pulsation or wobble in your pedal.

Check Your Brake Pads

Once you have tested your brakes to see how they are functioning, you may feel like you need to replace the brake pads or check the rotors depending on how your brakes felt. The first thing you should check is the thickness on your brake pads. When your engine is cold, start by removing the front wheel. Take out your compass and measure the thickness of each brake pad at the top and bottom of the pad. A new brake pad should have a thickness of ½ an inch and they will need to be replaced once they reach 1/8 of an inch thick. If the measurements on the top and the bottom of your brake pads varies by more than 1/16 of an inch, your caliper isn’t releasing correctly and needs to be serviced.

Check Your Rotors

While your wheel is off, run your fingernail across the surface of the rotor. If your nail catches on a deep groove, your rotor will need to be machined or replaced. Make sure to double check that your rotor is still straight as a warped or crooked rotor will drastically effect the way your car brakes and handles.

If you are looking for the best deals in town on brake pads, rotors, and much more, come into your local U Pull & Pay today. Our expert staff will help you find exactly what you are looking for and give you all the tips and tricks you need to know to become an expert at home mechanic.


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This post was written by Jonathan Kling