Are you worried that you might be driving with dangerously worn brake pads? Here at Kernersville Auto Center, we specialize in performing normal vehicle maintenance, such as replacing your brake pads, changing your oil, and more. By keeping your car in great working condition, you can save money and stay safe on the road. Here are some items that need regular maintenance.
How to Know if You have Worn Brake Pads
Worn brake pads can go from bad to worse fairly quickly. Of course, the car will still start even if you have worn brake pads. However, if you drive with significant brake wear, you will be putting yourself and other drivers in danger. We recommend replacing worn pads as soon as you notice a problem.
So how do you know if you have to replace your brake pads? The first sign is a screeching or squealing sound, even when you gently apply your brake pedal as you normally do. The metal within the brake pad itself causes this sound. Brake manufacturers include this metal shim in the brake pad material in order to sound the alarm when the material is wearing too much to continue driving safely.
If you ignore the screeching, you may experience a grinding noise or sensation. This happens when there is contact between the brake disc and caliper. It is an indication that your brake pad has worn away completely and you need to get to a shop immediately.
Many of today’s vehicles will also have an indicator light; when that comes on, you need a brake inspection. We recommend using your dash lights as a guide, but not relying on them. If you aren’t sure if you need brake pad replacement, you can visually look at the brake system. If there is less than 1/4 inch of brake pad left, bring your car into our shop for a brake inspection.
Other Brake Issues – When Do You Need Help?
Worn out brake pads are just one brake issue that you might experience. Other brake problems can creep up from time to time. Here are a few common reasons you may want to come into our shop:
- Parking Brake Issues – We often forget about our parking brake until we really need it. Make sure you test your parking brake regularly and come in if you experience any problems.
- Uneven Brake Pad Wear – An uneven thickness of your brake rotor can cause this problem. The result is a seizing of caliper guide pins, and other issues with the brake system.
- Rust or Corrosion on the Brake Pads – You might see slight rust residue if it has been rainy or damp recently. However, a build-up of rust can indicate a problem with the caliper or pad coating, plating or paint.
- Brakes on Each Axle Wearing at Different Rates – Your rear brake pads and front brake pads should wear at the same rate, in theory. However, in practice it is common for one set to wear out faster than the other. This simply means you may not need to change all your brake pads at once.
- The Inner Brakes Wearing Faster – It is common for your inner brake pads to wear faster than your outer brake pads, especially if you have a floating caliper brake system. However, extreme inner brake pad wear could indicate a seized caliper guide pin, damaged caliper piston seal, or master cylinder issue.
When in doubt, bring your car to the experts here at Kernersville Auto Center. If something feels “off” or you hear a weird sound, it is better to be safe than sorry. You need to be able to press your brake pedal without worrying that the car may not stop immediately.
We are proud to have ASE-certified mechanics who can diagnose a small problem before it becomes a major, expensive issue. ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is an independent testing organization that provides certification only after intensive testing. Mechanics must pass a rigorous test every 5 years to ensure that they are current with new automotive technology. When you have a problem with your vehicle, you want a professional to work on the solution.
Changing Your Oil – How Often is an Oil Change Needed?
Along with brake pad replacement, you’ll also need to change your oil regularly. Oil changes are relatively fast and inexpensive. However, if you wait too long between changes, you could cause your entire engine to seize, which is not a fast or inexpensive problem to fix.
At one time, most manufacturers recommended that you change your oil every 3000 miles. Today, this might not be the best advice. If you are using fully synthetic oil or a synthetic blend, you may be able to go 5000 miles or even more between oil changes. Learn more about the different types of oil here.
One of our experts can recommend when you need to change your oil next, based on your driving habits, vehicle make and model, and type of oil you use. They can also help you choose between synthetic, regular oil or a synthetic blend. We carry only Havoline oils, because we trust their performance and value. When you bring your car in for brake service, we can change your oil at the same time if it is due. Kill two birds with one stone and get back on the road faster!
When to Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are one of the easiest and fastest parts of your vehicle to replace. That said, we regularly see cars that have damaged wiper blades. It is just something that seems to slip people’s minds until they are driving in a heavy rain storm.
Tears in your wiper blades can make driving very dangerous. It is also one of the things inspected during your annual North Carolina state-required car inspection. If you don’t have fully-intact and operational wiper blades, we can replace them quickly and easily when you are here for brake service, an oil change, or any other maintenance.
Are Your Lights in Good Working Condition?
Along with wiper blades, you need to keep your headlights, running lights, brake lights, and interior lights in good working condition. Not only is this required by law, but it also keeps you safe. Your lights help you see as you drive, but also help other drivers see you. It is possible that legally you would be at fault during an auto accident, if your lights weren’t working properly.
As with windshield wipers, lights are quite easy to replace in most cases. It depends on your vehicle. For some vehicles, you may have a hard time replacing the bulbs, because the screws could be in a weird location. It’s an easy fix for us, since we have the appropriate tools. Therefore, if you are coming in for brake service anyway, let us replace any lights that are out as well.
Tire Issues – When to Rotate and When to Replace
During your brake inspection, you may want to inspect your tires. Tires last 25,000 to 80,000 miles in most cases. The range is so wide because it depends greatly on the brand of tire and your driving habits. Braking occurs when you apply friction to the tire as you drive. So, if you constantly “ride” your brakes, brake hard, or brake in conditions that aren’t optimal, you could need to change your tires sooner.
You’ll need to replace your tires when the tread is 1/8 inch or less. You can measure this at home using a quarter. Stick the quarter in a tire groove with the head upside down and facing you. If you can’t see the top of George Washington’s hair, your tread is probably fine. If you can see the top of his head, it is time for new tires. Not sure? bring it to us and we’ll check for you.
Along with tread, you should also visually inspect your tires for other problems, including bulges, cracks, and low air. If you have brake problems, you might also have issues with your tires that we can address.
Additionally, it is good practice to rotate your tires regularly to prevent uneven wear. If your steering wheel is shaking as you drive or you visually notice uneven wear, rotating can help. We can rotate your tires at the same time we replace your brakes or change your oil. We recommend rotation every 6000 miles or 6 months.
Indications You Need a New Battery
Your car battery is another part you need to replace every few years. Luckily, this is another quick fix in most cases. If you have a non-hybrid gas-powered car, it is as simple as removing the old battery and installing the new one.
We can check your battery whenever you are here. There are also a few signs you can look out for. These things could indicate that you’ll need a new battery soon:
- You have to jump your car to get it started, even though you didn’t leave your headlights on for an extended period.
- When you visually inspect your battery, it has a crack or is leaking.
- You notice corrosion, especially at the connectors.
- Even when you attempt to jump it, your car won’t start.
- The check engine light is on.
- You notice that your lights are dim compared to their normal brightness.
These issues could indicate other problems as well, so it is always a good idea to bring in your car for a professional to inspect. Our trained and licensed mechanics have experience with a wide variety of car problems. We’ll be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with your car and give you a price quote to fix it. We treat every customer as family. A mechanic will always explain any issue and the options for a solution before we begin any work on your vehicle. If we replace a part, we will show you the old part that we removed.
Long-Term Maintenance – Go Over This Checklist with a Professional
No matter what make and model you drive, you’ll need to occasionally replace parts and perform maintenance. Some items are more expensive than others. By maintaining your car well, however, you’ll avoid even higher costs. Here are a few things you’ll need to repair and replace occasionally. Go over this checklist with a professional, like the experienced mechanics at our shop, if you think you may soon need maintenance!
- Air Filter – This is a fairly low-cost item that you need to replace from time to time. We can check it when you come in for an oil change.
- Shocks and Struts – We recommend having a professional look at your shocks and struts every 50,000 miles. If you experience a bumpier-than-normal ride, this is another indication they need replacement.
- Spark Plugs – If your engine isn’t getting enough power, but the battery is fine, it could be the spark plugs.
- Serpentine Belt – You should replace this belt whenever it shows visible signs of wear and damage.
- Fluid Levels – Always keep your car’s fluids at optimal levels. This includes your oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and even windshield wiper fluid. We can check all fluid levels upon request, whenever you bring your vehicle in for any service.
Your mechanic can let you know the best maintenance schedule for your vehicle. You can set an appointment to significantly decrease your wait time. We can get you back on the road faster if we know you’re coming! However, in an emergency, or if you are unsure about something, do not hesitate to stop by to speak to a mechanic. We’ll fit you in as quickly as possible.
Don’t Forget the Wash and Wax
Last but not least, whether you are here for brake pad replacement or a reason other than your vehicle’s brakes, consider going through our state-of-the-art car wash. Regular car washes aren’t just about keep your vehicle looking good. They can also prevent bigger problems with paint chips and rust.
As you drive, dirt and chemicals from the road can attack your finish and paint. Even bugs and bird droppings can cause deterioration. Our environmentally-friendly car wash removes any debris and dirt. By using filtered, recycled water, we use much less water for your car wash than you would use at home doing the job with a hose. Choose one of our finishes for even more protection.
We have several car-wash packages that offer discounted rates for unlimited washes within a month and other choices. Keep this in mind as the perfect gift item for just about everyone on your list…whether it’s for the holidays or a birthday celebration!
All of our services, including our car wash, are part of our loyalty program. Whenever you spend money at Kernersville Auto Center, you’ll earn points. You can redeem these points for free car washes, free oil changes, and big discounts on future services. Click here to learn more and become a member today.