When you step on your brakes do you hear a grinding sound? Or do your brakes squeak? Or do you feel a pulsation? Does your brake pedal go almost all the way to the floor before you stop? These signs and others can signal that you may have a brake problem. If you are experiencing any one of these you need to get your brakes checked. Golden Rule Brake provides a free brake inspection and a written estimate on all recommended repairs.
Your automobile has brake pads that will wear over time and need to be replaced. When you push on your brake pedal, the brake pads press against the rotor. Similarly, in a drum braking system, a brake shoe pushes against the brake drum and this is what makes your vehicle slow and stop. Over time rotors and drums become worn and need machining* or replacing.
The caliper is the hydraulic component of a disc braking system. A caliper piston or pistons extend out of the caliper piston bore under applied hydraulic pressure and contact the brake pads. Brake pads are positioned inside the caliper and on each side of the vertical rotor. As the piston extends, it literally squeezes the brake pads against the outer and inner surface of the rotor, slowing down the car.
The wheel cylinder is a component of a drum braking system and consists of a cylinder that has two pistons, one on each side. On the interior of the piston is a rubber seal. The piston makes contact with the shoe directly or through a slotted pin. When hydraulic pressure is applied by the master cylinder, the cups and pistons are forced out, pushing the shoes into contact with the drum. When the brake pedal is released, return springs pull the shoes back away from the drums and push the wheel cylinder pistons back into their bores. If your wheel cylinder is leaking brake fluid from either end then it's time to replace it.
*Machining or “turning” rotors and drums referrers to placing them on a lathe and removing a small layer of the metal surface. This smooths the surface and provides the proper contact point for the pads or brake shoes.
Shock absorbers are the part of a car's suspension system that do exactly as their name suggests. They dampen the vertical motions resulting from driving on bumpy roads so passengers are not jostled about. Shock absorbers do not handle this job entirely by themselves, rather they work together with springs to absorb and dissipate vertical movement. When shock absorbers begin to wear out, they become less effective at handling the car's movements. This will lead to abnormal wear on your vehicle's tires and other components of the suspension system, and it can have an adverse effect on the car's handling.
Struts incorporate a spring mechanism that takes most of the shock of the car as it hits a pothole, and some of the shock as it makes a turn. This spring is made of coiled metal or compressed gas. It attaches to the base of the wheel and the frame of the car.When the car hits a bump the spring compresses, absorbing the energy and force from the "impact" or change in height. This prevents the wheel from damaging the carriage and also reduces stress to the car frame. It provides a smoother ride, too.
Constant-velocity (CV) joints are used to connect two rotating shafts that meet at an angle, and they allow for power and torque to be transmitted from the engine to the wheel without causing too much commotion. They are most commonly found on front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles, and help power transfer more fluidly across wide angles.
On average, most CV joints should last approximately 100,000 miles. CV joints do not commonly break down, since they have protective rubber boots that prevent unnecessary wear.
To determine if the CV joints might be worn, take the car for a test drive. You may notice excessive vibrations during acceleration or hear humming sounds or an audible clunk when you speed up or slow down. Turning the car could also be accompanied by grinding or clicking noises.
Ball joints are a critical part of any car’s suspension and steering. They attach the wheel hub, which the wheel and tire are mounted to, to the rest of the suspension. This connection needs to be able to rotate horizontally for steering and vertically for shock absorption, hence the use of ball joints that can move in all directions.
While ball joints last for a long time, they do wear. The polished metal ball rides in a polished metal cage. Space between the two is filled with grease to reduce wear. However, if the grease leaks out of the ball joint or any dirt and impurities get into the grease, the ball joint may become worn or damaged.
Tracking rods, more commonly known as tie rods, are an essential part of a car’s steering system. They literally "tie" the front wheels together so that they will turn together.As such, if a tie rod breaks or becomes disconnected, the driver can lose control of the vehicle, possibly causing an accident. This makes the tie rod a safety item that needs to be checked regularly and replaced if excessively worn.If the tie rod ends are allowed to wear excessively, it affects the steering and handling of the vehicle. This may be noticed by the car tending to wander, forcing the driver to make constant steering corrections when going down a straight highway. Worn tie rod ends may also cause uneven wear on the tires.
When your tire alignment is off, your ability to drive safely is compromised. Sometimes unaligned wheels can be obvious – your car pulls to one side of the road or you notice uneven tire wear. In some cases, your tires may be out of alignment and the common symptoms have not developed yet. That's why regular tire alignment checkups are a must-do. The better maintenance you keep, the longer your car will run properly. If your car alignment feels off – or if it's simply been a while – come see us at Golden Rule Brake.