3 Ways A Brake Inspection Is About More Than Just Brake Pads

There's more to your brakes than just your brake pads. Unfortunately, it's easy to ignore these other critical aspects of this essential vehicle safety system. If you don't think about your brakes until they start squealing, you could miss many severe safety issues originating from your car's other braking components.

A thorough brake inspection involves checking your entire braking system for problems, allowing you to spot trouble before it leaves you careening down the road. If you still think you only need to worry about your brake pads, check out these three other essential aspects of any complete back inspection.

1. Rotor Thickness and Condition 

Your brake pads need to contact a relatively smooth disc surface to provide quiet and efficient stopping power. If you have rotors that are warped, grooved, or otherwise in poor condition, it can lead to noises, vibrations, and other braking problems. Additionally, damaged rotors will cause your brake pads to wear out more quickly, forcing you to replace them sooner.

A brake inspection always involves checking the condition and thickness of your disc brake rotors. While rotors wear down much more slowly than brake pads, they still lose some material over time. Turning (or resurfacing) your rotors also wears them down. Technicians will need to ensure your rotors meet minimum thickness requirements, or you'll need to replace them with your next brake job.

2. Brake Fluid Leakage

When you think of losing brake fluid, you probably picture a catastrophic failure ultimately leading to disaster. While losing too much hydraulic pressure will cause your brakes to stop working, leaks don't always start this severe. Small leaks from your brake hoses may only produce subtle symptoms, such as reduced brake feel, allowing them to go unnoticed for some time.

A brake inspection includes checking your hoses for signs of deterioration and leaks. Bleeder valves and piston seals on your calipers are also potential sources of leaks. If your inspection turns up a leak in any of these areas, you'll need to address it immediately to ensure your vehicle's brakes remain safe and reliable.

3. Caliper Operation

While pressing the pedal and discovering your brakes don't work is terrifying, it's also possible for your brakes to stick in the engaged position. A variety of problems, including damage to your calipers and obstructions in your brake hoses, can lead to your brake pads remaining in contact with the rotors. Stuck calipers can cause your brakes to wear down, produce excess noise, and even pull your car to one side.

The mechanic inspecting your brakes will ensure your calipers are in good working order, allowing you to avoid this problem that can quickly destroy your brake pads or cause your car to become dangerously unsafe.