If you commute to work in Puyallup, WA during rush hour, think about what you’re expecting from your brakes; every day, they bring a few thousand pounds of metal, rubber, plastic and glass (and fast-food wrappers) to a stop…a hundred times or more. Obviously, your safety is literally riding on your brakes, and like so many other things it’s too easy to take them for granted until there’s a problem. We do a lot of brake repair at Sea Tac Tire & Auto Tech in Puyallup, WA, and we’d like to go over a few brake repair items to keep in mind this summer:
- The friction material on your brake pads is the first thing that wears out in the brake system. The pads include a little metal tab on the backing plate that is designed to drag along the brake rotor when the pads wear down to ¼” or so, resulting in an awful metallic screech that will let you know it’s time to schedule brake repair.
- Not all aftermarket brake pads are designed with a wear indicator, so be alert for increased stopping distances, increased brake pedal travel before the brakes engage, a wobble in the steering wheel while braking or a pull to one side or the other while braking. These are all indicators of impending brake repair, and need attention as soon as possible.
- The rotors are the glassy-smooth steel discs behind your wheels that the brake pads actually grip to provide braking. Brake pads that are excessively worn can cause grooves in the rotors, which can only be repaired by “turning” or machining the rotor itself to restore the smooth surface. Sometimes the rotors are too worn to be restored to factory spec, meaning they’ll need to be replaced. If you notice that irritating shimmy or wobble while braking, it could mean a rotor that’s warped out of true and is in need of replacement. Rotor replacement is a brake repair item we can easily perform at our Puyallup, WA location.
- Your car also features an antilock braking system; ABS features four sensors that monitor the speed of each wheel. These sensors send that information back to a processor that then meters the amount of braking pressure to each wheel via a pump and valves, preventing any wheels from locking up during a hard stop and potentially causing a dangerous skid. The ABS system also works with your car’s engine control computer (along with Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control on newer models); any ABS problems will show up in a diagnostic check of the engine computer. Have you noticed the dashboard ABS light for more than the first few seconds after starting your car? Then give us a call at Sea Tac Tire & Auto Tech in Puyallup, WA for brake repair!