Although we’re already halfway through Brake Safety Awareness Month here Overland Park, I can’t resist telling a little cautionary tale about the importance of regular brake service. One cloudy morning a new customer brought his car into New Concept with the ubiquitous “they’re making a funny noise” description of his brakes.
I was working in the shop that day so opted to do the test drive and initial inspection. I started the car and took off through the parking lot to take the usual test drive loop. As I rolled past McDonalds and realized I would have to stop before turning onto busy 87th Street, I gently pressed on the brakes, listening intently for the “funny noise.” Nothing. And by nothing I mean not only no noise—no brakes. The pedal went all the way to the floor and I kept moving toward the busy cross traffic.
Fortunately, I quickly realized I was going slowly enough the emergency brake could stop the car without damaging anything (if you pull the emergency brake when moving at high speeds you risk spinning the vehicle). The tragedy was averted, but I hate to think of what might have happened if the customer had gone on down the road to run a few more errands before coming to New Concept.
So beside the obvious “funny noise” and dashboard warning lights telling you something is wrong with your brakes, what else can you look for to ensure you are keeping your family safe on the road?
- You may need service if the feel of the brake changes—especially a sudden change. This includes a low / soft feel, a high / stiff feel, or a jumpy response when you apply the brake pedal.
- If car pulls to one side when braking you may have an issue.
- Listen for squealing or grinding noises while braking (especially when backing up) and don’t ignore them even if they are only intermittent.
- If the steering wheel vibrates or shimmies it may indicate a brake issue.
Once you’ve had your brakes serviced at New Concept Auto Service we recommend you have them inspected every 30,000 miles on average. They are a normal wear item on any vehicle and will eventually need to be replaced.