How often should I have the brakes checked on my vehicle? Can I just wait until the next roadworthiness test?
The standard interval for checkig the brake system every 10'000 miles provided that that no other faults indicative of disc and pad wear or damage are noted, such as vibration, suspect noises, cracks and discolouration caused by overheating. But as winter approached and you bring your vehicle in to change to winter tyres, this is a good opportunity to ensure that you can depend on your braking syste. Ask us to check wear on each of the brake system components next time your vehicle is scheduled into the workshop.
How can I tell if the discs and pads need to be replaced?
Discs should normally be replaced when they reach the minimum thickness indicated by the manufacturer. This is the minimum thickness that the disc rotor can reach whilst still ensuring the safety and peformance of the brake itself. Similarly, brake pads must also be replaced when they reach their minimum permitted thickness. On some pads it is indicated either by an electric sensor in the pad or an audible wear sensor, while on others wear is determined by visual inspection conducted by our technicians.
After changing pads, how important is the bedding in period and how long does it take? How should I best bed in new braking components to achieve the best results?
Our technicians will always conduct a road test after replacement of braking components to check efficiency and quality control.
Should I check the brake fluid as well as the discs and pads?
Of all the braking systems components, brake fluid is the one that deteriorated the quickest. Because it is highly hydroscopic, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the exteral environment through the walls of the lines in the hydraulic sircuit. The moisture lowers the boiling point of the fluid which can lead to the extremely dangerous phenomenon known as 'vapour lock' - when the brake fluid is more likely to boil if the brake system overheats, causing an increase in stopping distances.
Is it necessary to change the brake calipers? If so, when?
Unlike the brake discs and pads, brake calipers and the other hydraulic components of the brake system (lines, brake pistons, brake master cylinders) do not wear through friction. Therefore, they only need to be replaced as a result of normal wear or accidental damage. But calipers, in particular, can deteriorate rapidly if used in very cold or corrosive ambient conditions. Extremely low temperatures, rain, snow and other factors such as the salt and chemical products used to clear and de-ice roads in the winter can also cause accelerated deterioration.