Pay Attention to Brakes, Too! | North Baltimore, MD | AutoStream Car Care Center

To Drive, Or Not to Drive?

Your Braking Ability is the Question

Americans put a lot of thought into making their cars go. We want to go farther. We want to go faster. We want to go more efficiently. While all those efforts to move forward are valid interests, shouldn’t we be equally (or more) concerned with how we stop? If you are worried that you may not have the ability to stop or slow down as quickly as you need to, call AutoStream in Baltimore, Maryland. One of our ASE certified technicians can inspect your brakes and make any repairs needed to ensure your family’s safety.

Signs of Braking Trouble

Odd noises, feelings, or smells coming from your car may signal that you have a braking system problem. Squealing or grinding when braking could indicate worn metal pads. Since your braking system works using hydraulic pressure, a “soft” or spongy feeling pedal during braking could mean that you have a fluid leak. Also, your pedal should not go all the way down. Rather the pedal of a manual brake car should stop at least 3 inches from the floor, while that of a car with power brakes should stop about an inch to inch and a half from the floor. If the brake light is on, make sure the emergency brake has not accidentally been engaged. If not, the light likely means that your brakes need attention. If your brake rotors have warped and become uneven, they make cause wobbling, scraping, or vibration during braking. Finally, a burning smell could be a sign that the emergency brake has been left engaged or that your vehicle has a stuck brake caliper.

How to Tell When You Need a Tow

“To drive or not to drive? Your braking ability is the question.” Admittedly, that is a horrible paraphrase of Shakespeare’s famous line from Hamlet, but it is, nevertheless, relevant. How do you know when to drive the car to AutoStream in North Baltimore, Maryland, versus calling for a tow to the automotive repair shop?

Safety should always be your first priority. If you have any difficulty stopping your car or truck, including a longer than normal braking distance, don’t risk an accident. You need to have the vehicle towed. Also, if you hear an obnoxious grinding when you apply the brakes, continuing to drive the car is likely causing additional damage that will lead to more extensive and expensive repairs. In this case, you may want to strongly consider a tow. Finally, if you have just begun to hear squealing or squeaking, do not prolong getting service to prevent the problem from becoming worse, but you will likely be able to drive the car to the shop yourself. When making your choice, always use sound judgment.

Written by Doug Grills