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How Much does a Brake Component Inspection Cost?
The braking system is one of, if not the most important system fitted to your vehicle.
It requires constant maintenance to continue operating at its best.
The braking systems are subject to a number of problems. If left unchecked, it can cause expensive damage to your car and put you, your family and surrounding drivers in danger.
Checking of the brake pads, rotors (the shiny discs located behind your wheels) and the condition of the brake fluid at specified intervals, will ensure that the braking system is in safe working order, and will continue to stop your car as designed.
Brake Component Inspection
How Does the Braking System Work?
The braking system relies on a few different components to operate correctly.
These components include brake fluid, brake callipers, brake lines, brake pads and disc rotors as well as the brake master cylinder.
It all starts when you place your foot on the brake pedal. This action transfers the pressure applied on the brake pedal down to the brake pads, callipers and rotors.
When the brake pedal is pressed, the brake fluid transfers the pressure from the brake master cylinder through the brake lines down into the brake calipers.
This pressure forces the brake pads against the disc rotors, and the friction created slows the vehicle down to a stop.
Once the brake pedal is released, the opposite happens, which allows the vehicle to move without any braking resistance.
Common Braking System Issues
Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal
One of the most common problems with the braking system is contaminated brake fluid.
Brake fluid is a silicon based fluid, which absorbs moisture from the environment over time.
This reduces the effectiveness of the braking system and requires more braking effort to slow the vehicle to a stop.
Manufacturers recommend brake fluid replacement every two years, but depending on driving conditions, it may need to be replaced more often.
Vehicles fitted with drum brakes may also have a brake fluid leak from the rear wheel cylinders, which will cause air to enter into the braking system, reducing the brake systems effectiveness and causing the brake pedal feel to become ‘soft and spongy’.
Excessive Brake Pad Wear
The brake pads and disc rotors are classed as wear and tear items and need to be replaced when the friction material of the brake pad has worn down excessively.
Depending on the vehicle, and how much wear has occurred, the disc rotors may need to be replaced as well.
If the brake pads wear passed the friction material, the backing plate will hit the rotor, causing a grinding noise, and significant damage to the brake rotor and possibly the calliper.
If you hear a grinding noise when slowing down, have your brakes inspected immediately.
Squealing Noise when Braking
If you hear a squealing noise coming from one of your wheels, especially when slowing down, it may mean that your brakes need to be replaced.
Most manufacturers fit brake wear indicators to the backing plate of their brake pads, so that when the friction material has worn down excessively, this will contact the brake rotor, and cause a squealing noise to alert the driver that the brake system requires attention.
A squealing noise could also be caused by a rock or debris caught in the braking system.
If your vehicle is fitted with drum brakes, an excessive buildup of brake dust can also cause a squealing noise when slowing down.
If you hear a squealing noise when slowing down, have your braking system inspected as soon as possible.
Shudder When Slowing Down
Warped brake rotors can cause a shudder when slowing down, which can be felt through the steering wheel or the body of the vehicle.
Uneven brake pad wear or excessive heat from constant heavy braking can cause the disc rotors to weaken and warp.
This will need to be either refaced or replaced, depending on the thickness of the rotor.
How is a Brake Component Inspection Carried Out?
Our mechanics will inspect the braking system of your vehicle, including checking of the brake fluid for contamination, brake lines, and remove the wheels to measure the thickness of the brake pads, rotors or shoes (if applicable).
They will then quote up any repairs or replacement required.
Why It’s Important to Have Your Braking Components Inspected
Having your braking system inspected will give you peace of mind, that whenever you press the brake pedal, your vehicle will slow down and stop in a safe manner.
Operating a vehicle with a faulty or worn out braking system can be dangerous, as it may not stop when you apply the brakes, and cause an accident.
If you've read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a service, repair or inspection, visit AutoGuru. We let you search and book from over 1,600 qualified mechanics, who eat car troubles for breakfast.