Automotive Brake Repair, Service & Replacement

Image of auto brake repair

Regular brake inspections and repairs are vital for your safety, passenger safety, and the safety of other drivers on the road. Driving with poor brakes is reckless and can result in expensive damage to the vehicle. Being proactive and regularly servicing your vehicle’s brake can prolong your vehicle’s life and save you money. 

What Is Included With Brake Repair Services?

A thorough and detailed inspection of all the moving parts that work together to bring the vehicle to a standstill requires a brake service. The inspection allows for the Chicago vehicle repair professional to decide what parts need to be repaired or replaced.

Typical Repairs Included In Brake Service:

  • Brake Caliper & Rotor Re-alignment
  • Brake Rotors / Drums Resurfaced
  • Brake Hose Replacement
  • Brake Master Cylinder Replacement
  • Brake Fluid Flush & Replacement
  • Brake Caliper Replacement
  • Brake Pads Replacement

What Is Done During Brake Inspection?

A break inspection begins with a thorough test of brake parts, including brake pedals, brake lights, and the parking brake. If the vehicle is fitted with ABS, the system as a whole is tested as well.

Testing all fluid levels, brake pads, rotors, and other components is the next step in the inspection process. The inspection shows the issues affecting your brakes and decides what kind of brake work you need.

The next move is to inspect the rotors for any grooves, heat cracks, discolored spots, or scratches that need to be resurfaced. To ensure that the rotors are safe, the rotor runout is also tested.

The last step of the inspection process is checking the caliper mounts to see if they have worked evenly. We also check the brake shoes, drums, wheel cylinder, and other components in this phase. This step also includes testing steel brake lines, master cylinder, proportioning valve, ABS, and rubber hoses for any leaks.

How Often Should Brakes Be Serviced?

Photo of a car lifted for repair

Brake service can be many things, and many factors affect what exact service your vehicle requires. Brake repair service is performance-based maintenance rather than a mileage-based service, so each vehicle’s repair needs are different.

It all comes down to your brake system’s degree of wear, which depends on your driving style, environmental conditions, and many other things. Chicago driving conditions differ from other cities including potholes, roadwork, and all-season weather. Driver manuals give inspection timelines, but the manuals are not tailored for Chicago drivers. Contact a Chicago mechanic for location-specific guidelines. 

It’s advised to have your brake system tested annually to assess the need for brake service. At some intervals, like every 10 miles, you can do this, or ask your mechanic to check the brakes with each oil change.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Brake Pad Failure?

When you have issues, your brakes will let you know. You can hear a high pitched squeal or rubbing noise from the wheels in most situations. Brake pads will wear out faster/slower based on the type of driving a vehicle is performing. Stop and go traffic in Chicago will use the brake pads more often causing them to wear out quicker. 

Most auto manufacturers have brake pad wear indicators that produce a screeching/squealing noise when the brakes begin to wear out. If the squealing noise from your wheels is heard without the brakes being applied, the wear sensor is most definitely in full contact with the brake rotor.

It’s a safe idea to have your brakes tested right away if you hear odd noises coming from your wheels. Even if the odd noise you heard a few days ago is gone, it’s always a good idea to get your brakes tested because the wear indicator will eventually fall off the pad (eliminating the noise), but the brake problems are still there.

A terrible grinding noise will be the noise after the brake pad has worn out. This means that the brake pads and rotors are depleted, producing “Metal to Metal” contact. A friction substance adhered to a metal backing has the brake pads.

There is 10mm to 12mm of friction content in most brake pads. When you have 2mm of friction material left, the wear indicator hits the brake rotor. The brake pad’s metal backing comes into contact with the brake rotor when the friction material is gone, creating severe complications that often double the cost of a regular brake repair.

What Parts Are Involved In Auto Brake Repair?

Image of a vehicle rotor with damaged brake pads

Usually, a brake job includes replacing the brake linings, resurfacing the rotors and drums, adding fresh brake fluid (bleeding the device as necessary), testing ABS brake system, and searching for other worn parts.

All parts in the brake system are tested during the brake inspection, but repairs may only require certain parts to be replaced. Most repairs require the replacement of pads and rotors but more severe repairs may require ABS brake system repairs.

What Is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in vehicles as hydraulic fluid. It is responsible for converting force and amplifying the braking force into pressure. The brake fluid converts this force to pressure on the front and rear brakes as you apply your foot to the brake pedal and stops the vehicle. Over time, the fluid breaks down and needs to be flushed and refilled.

How Is Brake Fluid Serviced?

A technician will find the brake fluid tank, and the old fluid will be removed before replacing it with new fluid. The car will then need to be jacked up and all four wheels removed to clear the old fluid from the brake valve lines. Tubing is attached to the brake valve on one end to flush the fluid, with the other end emptying the old fluid.

A second technician will pump the brakes to ensure the fluid is circulating the brake system and the old fluid is completely flushed out.

What Are Brake Rotors?

Picture of a vehicle break rotor and caliper

Rotors are the circular disks attached to each wheel (two in the front and two in the back). Rotors are designed to transform motion into thermal energy (heat). When the calipers pinch together, the brake pads and the rotors’ wide surface area causes friction. The wheel’s motion resists this friction, which slows the wheel’s rotation and stops the vehicle.

How Are Rotors Replaced?

The Brake rotors and pads are normally replaced in pairs. A mechanic removes the brake caliper holding the pads and pulls the rotor from the axle. A new rotor is fitted, and the caliper is fitted with new brake pads. The caliper is reinstalled and tested for fluid levels and any air that might have reached the brake fluid system.

What Is The ABS Brake System?

Image of anti lock braking system indicator

ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is a computer-controlled device that works with your vehicle’s brake system in case of an emergency. If the wheels stop spinning while the car is in forward motion, the wheel sensors alert the computer module. To get the wheel to start spinning again, the machine automatically notifies the hydraulic valve to discharge a measure of brake fluid pressure.

The ABS system is complex, and it is used in unforeseen circumstances. Keeping this system working directly affects the safety of a vehicle. If a vehicle is displaying an ABS light, have a vehicle professional take a look to ensure the car is safe to drive.

Chicago Auto Brake Repair

It’s well known that Chicago roadways are filled with obstacles that drivers must avoid to prolong the life of their vehicles. Unexpected potholes and black ice in the winter require brakes that can stop on a dime. Vehicles with damaged brakes are at a disadvantage and may not stop the car how the driver would expect it to. 

If you have the slightest feeling that your automobile’s brakes are not in tip-top condition, get a brake inspection right away. Chicago has plenty of certified mechanics that will diagnose what is failing on the car and perform the needed repairs to return the vehicle to a safe condition. 

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