Many of us do not bother about the very and most important system that saves our lives almost everyday while driving, yes it’s the brakes.
The very fact that manufacturers specify a range of values: be it time, thickness etc to replace your brake components is not for them to earn profits but it is mainly for your safety.
Let’s start with the main and basic component of your braking system.
This is oil that is used to transfer force into pressure, it means that the pressure applied on the pedal is doubled by the time it reaches the brakes. These oils are not petroleum based as oils damage rubber seals, hoses and even paint hence these brake fluids are glycol-ether based , but silicone(DOT 5) based oils are also available. These brake fluids are best functioning when there are no impurities and water in it, hence never re-use old brake oil. Manufacturers have different specified time for replacement of this fluid to enhance the braking.
Brake Pads and Rotors (disc):
These are the main and most visible parts of the braking system. Every rotor and brake pad has a specified minimum thickness limit set by the car or part manufacturer. This limit should always be adhered to or else it may lead to a complete loss of braking system. Note whenever you are changing to new brake pads ask your mechanic if the rotors need refinishing, as the rotors may have lining or may be run-out and if they are, then the new brake pads will not be effective. Always use genuine parts while replacing with old parts.
Brake master and slave cylinders:
These are parts that complete the whole system, so get these checked by a well trained mechanic as only he will competent enough to give you a accurate evaluation regarding the condition of these.
All modern cars come fitted with a system called Anti- Lock Braking system which helps prevent the locking off wheels while breaking heavily by reducing brake oil pressure to that wheel, thus preventing skidding of the vehicle.
This unit cannot and shouldn’t be repaired; instead it should be replaced with a brand new one. The ABS system has a check light which when faulty will blink on your meter.
If your brake start feeling hard first check the brake booster for any cracks or leaks, also check the hoses connecting to the booster to cuts or leaks.
These are oil pipes flexible or non-flexible lines that carry oil to the respective cylinders. These lines do not rust or wear fast but its better to get them checked as they run along with the underbody of the car and can get damaged when the underbody gets hit.
Preventive maintenance tips:
- Get brakes checked by professionals every 3-4 months.
- Avoid washing the car of any car parts when hot, let it come to normal temperature.
- Avoid unnecessary braking.
- Do not use spurious or local spares , only use genuine parts.
- Get all works done by a trained professional.
- Do not ride on brakes.
- Do not dip your finger in brake oil reservoir even though brake oil is good to heal cuts and burns as they may contaminate the brake fluid.