Cars today may be fitted with an amazing array of safety features including marvels such as lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert, but good brakes remain the most vital component of any motor vehicle safety system. Getting your car to stop quickly and efficiently at a split second notice can be the difference between life and death.
To that end, it is important that the brakes in your vehicle are regularly inspected to ensure they are in good working order so the system can function at its optimum.
How do your brakes work?
Most cars use a hydraulic system to operate braking. When you push the brake pedal, brake fluid is pushed through the brake lines into the calipers. They squeeze the brake pads onto the brake disc rotors which spin with the wheels applying friction and slowing them down. Brake pads are made from tough materials that can withstand heat and the force generated through braking but wear and tear through constant use means that brake pads need to be periodically replaced.
Brake disc rotors needing replacing too but not as often as brake pads. Over time they develop grooves on the surface from friction created by the brake pads and while they can be resurfaced to smooth them over, they have to eventually be replaced.
The brake fluid, which keeps the system flowing has to be flushed occasionally and replaced to keep the brakes working efficiently. The fluid absorbs moisture and as it builds up it can impact the braking performance and can also cause rust to form in the braking system.
How do you know your brakes need checking?
If you notice one or more of the following you should book your car in for a brake check right away:
- Loss of grip when braking
- Car takes longer than normal to stop
- Shudder through your steering wheel when braking
- Soft, spongy or low brake pedal
- Squeals, screeches when braking
- Car feels like its pulling to one side
- Brake system warning light flashes
If you don’t service your car with us, however, and your mechanic advises that your Toyota needs new brake pads or calipers, rotor drums or shoes, make sure you opt for genuine Toyota parts. They are not only the best fit for your car, but are made with care to offer superior performance and longevity and are backed by our 12-month warranty.