How does my vehicles brake system work?
When you push the brake pedal on your vehicle, a number of rapid actions bring your vehicle to a stop. Most passenger vehicles are stopped by hydraulic pressure. When the pedal is pushed by the drivers foot it depresses a plunger in the vehicles brake master cylinder. The brake master cylinder applies this pressure through a sealed system of brake lines to the brake hardware. For a disc brake system the pressure is applied to cylinders or pistons inside the brake caliper which squeezes your brake discs against the brake rotor which slows and stops the vehicle. Typically, you can expect the front brakes to do most of this work slowing and stopping the vehicle. A proportioning valve is typically in-line at some point after the master cylinder. The proportioning valve diverts 60% of the fluid force to the front and 40% to the rear. This over simplified explanation of how vehicles brake system works is typical in todays modern vehicles. The The brakes are the single most important system on your vehicle when it comes to dealing with bad weather, road hazards, bad drivers and other unforeseen circumstances. Below is a simplified image of a modern automotive braking system.
How do I know what is wrong with my vehicles brakes?
If your vehicle is having a brake concern it is important to have it inspected by a certified mechanic. Brakes are a safety issue that require a trained eye to correct any issues. If you feel you have a saftey issue with your brakes you should have it towed to a certified brake system mechanic. When your vehicle arrives at a repair facility they will diagnose what is wrong with the vehicles brakes by assessing the entire brake system. Some of the items our facility inspects when looking for brake system concerns are:
- Hydraulic system leaks, and fluid condition.
- Air in the hydraulic system
- Warped and worn brake rotors
- Worn brake pads or brake shoes
- Brake noises – grinding, squeaking, etc
- Spongy or soft brake pedal
- Vehicle pulls to one side while applying the brakes
- Brake light present on the dash
- ABS brake system mechanical or electrical issues
- Steering and suspension components causing brake related issues.
Having your vehicle looked over by a certified automotive brake repair and service mechanic can offer you the peace of mind that you and your family will be safe traveling down the road. Our facility uses the highest quality brake pads, brake rotors, brake master cylinders, wheel cylinders and other brake related auto repair components when performing repairs. Our ASE certified mechanics and years of experience allow us to offer clients of A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. our 24 month / 24,000 miles warranty on all brake service & brake repair.
What's a brake pad wear indicator?
A squeaking noise that we commonly hear from our client’s vehicles comes from a brake pad component called the wear indicator. The picture to the right shows the tab of metal called the wear indicator. This tab will touch the rotor when the pad is very low and will typically sound like a squeaking or whining noise as it vibrates over the brake rotor. Brake pad manufacturers install pad wear indicators to allow for an audible warning at approximately 10%-20% pad material remaining. The wear indicator is a tab of sheet metal that protrudes past the pad backing plate and touches the rotor at a set point of wear. Even cars with electric wear sensors will still have these pad wear indicators installed. The best way to think of a pad wear indicator is as a record needle. Think of a large record needle vibrating over a record... in this case the brake rotor is the record and the pad indicator is the needle.
Why was I recommended a brake fluid flush on my vehicle during service?
An often-overlooked brake service is brake fluid flushing. The reason a brake fluid flush is recommended is due to contamination in the fluid. Brake fluid contamination comes in the from dirt, dust, water in the fluid, overheated brake fluid, etc... all of which can reduce the boiling point of brake fluid. A reduced boiling point is of great concern when it comes to brake fluid due to the fact that prolonged braking can cause your brake fluid to overheat and cause pedal fade. Another concern is the contamination can cause leaks in seals and other components causing a pressure loss. Our facility tests your brake fluid every service and recommends the fluid before it will damage brake components or affect brake performance. If the fluid requires flushing it is recommended. Manufacturers have different recommendation time or mileage intervals based on driving style or fluid used. In the San Francisco bay area we typically see most fluid requiring flushing within a 2 year or 24,000 mile interval. The process is straight forward. We add new fluid at the master while extracting old fluid from the calipers or wheel cylinders. This process ensures the removal of all old fluid. At the same time we bleed the air from the system and clean the surrounding area. Inquire today about a full system brake fluid flush if you feel the fluid may be old or you may be due for a brake system flush.
A+ Japanese Auto Repair - Brake Repair Experts
We employ ASE certified brake repair mechanics. We use high quality parts and fluids. We offer a 24month/24,000 mile warranty which gives you piece of mind for all your brake repair and service needs. If you have a braking concern that is a safety issue call us today to arrange a tow. We employ expert brake service and repair mechanics that specialize on Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Infiniti, Subaru, Mazda, and other vehicles. A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. helps clients with brake repair and service from San Carlos, Belmont, Redwood City, San Mateo and other communities in the San Francisco bay area peninsula. Contact us today for an appointment.