Brake Fluid

A brake fluid change is normally carried out due to the brake fluid naturally absorbing moisture which happens over a period of time, giving you a spongy brake pedal, which can cause corrosion of the internal parts of the braking system and loss of efficiency.

Manufacturers recommend the brake fluid to be change every other year, here at Charminster Garage we automatically check the brake fluid using a hydroscope for water content during all our service schedules.

If you are unsure whether your brake fluid has been changed, contact Charminster garage and we will be happy to test your vehicle.

Brake Pads

How do you know when you should replace your brake pads?

Brake pads are something that you’re probably going to replace at some point in your vehicle’s lifetime.

A vehicles braking system is complex, typically, consisting of a brake disc, a brake calliper and a pair of brake pads for each wheel. The brake pads are fitted into the brake calliper so that they are almost touching the two sides of the brake disc.

When you press down on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid in the calliper pushes each brake pad against the sides of the brake disc, slowing the rotating of the brake disc through friction and stopping the vehicle.

There are a range of factors that affect the lifespan of your brake pads, and these all revolve around the way the vehicle is used and driven.  Brake pads can last anywhere between 20,000 and 70,000 miles so it’s hard to say how long the typical brake pad will last.

The following factors can be taken into account of how long your brake pads might last

  • Where you drive –

Are your brakes in constant use navigating towns/cities or do you spend a lot of time on motorways?

  • The weight you are carrying –

Are you rocking a huge people carrier or 4×4, or a diminutive smart car?

  • Mileage –

Do you spend half of your life on the road or is your car just for general day to day errands?

  • Type of brake pads –

Are they cheaper ‘organic’ pads, expensive ‘ceramic’ pads, or somewhere in between?

Top tips for longer lasting brake pads

All the above factors will eventually wear your brake pads out, but there are ways to help mitigate the daily damage done to them:

  • Apply your brakes steadily and gradually instead of suddenly slamming on them
  • Avoid high speed driving that results in needing to brake swiftly and heavily
  • Frantic acceleration and braking can drastically increase the wear and tear to your brake pads – be mindful and careful when controlling your vehicle
  • Drive light – avoid carrying any unnecessary weight in or on your vehicle when driving. If you have heavy items in the boot, back or on the roof of your vehicle that aren’t needed, take them out.

If you’re unsure about the state of, or performance of your vehicles brakes, or you suspect they may need checking and replacing, book an appointment at Charminster Garage before it’s too late.

When do you know it’s time to replace your brake pads?

Most vehicles these days are fitted with wear sensors to detect when front or rear brake pads are getting critically low.  However, there are other signs to look out for and if your sensors don’t work properly for some reason, you’re in a lot of trouble!

Keep an eye out for your sensor light  – your vehicle should have a brake pad wear warning light on the dashboard display. This usually indicates that at least one set of pads is almost worn out and needs replacing immediately

  • If your car doesn’t have sensors, make sure your brake pads are inspected and checked regularly
  • Carry out a visual check – It’s sometimes possible to look at the brake pads for wear and tear. Depending on the vehicle model, you may be able to see the outer brake pad. There should be at least three millimetres of the pad visible. If you see anything less, get those brake pads inspected.
  • Don’t ignore any screeching !!
  • If you hear a loud screeching when braking, that is a huge warning sign that your brake pads require inspection by a trained professional
  • If you hear a grinding noise – it is likely the brake pads have been worn down completely! Do not drive the vehicle in this state and arrange for the brakes to be checked and replaced as soon as possible.