Acura recommends a brake inspection every 15,000 miles. This is about a year’s worth of driving and is a cheap way to head off brake problems. Brakes wear as they do the job of slowing you down. Here’s the long version of how brakes work and what to look for with an incipient problem. When you step on the brake you push a piston in the master cylinder to compress the brake fluid. The pressure you create is transferred to the other brake components through brake lines to each wheel. Like all
Brakes function by pressing pads, flat parts contained in a non-wearing part called a caliper, against a rotor, a disk-shaped steel part that rotates at the speed of your wheels. The friction generated by this action converts your kinetic energy of motion to heat energy. As well as slowing your car, the pads and rotors lose a small amount of their material every time you brake. By having frequent brake inspections done on your Acura, you may be able to replace only the pads, which will save you some money. The Acura factory specifies a wear limit; if the rotors have not reached this, they do not need to be changed. Everyone’s brakes wear at different rates relating to highway miles vs. stop-and-go driving, how aggressively you use your brakes, and hill driving. Because of these individual differences, frequent inspections should be important to you. Developing brake problems can often go along with the following symptoms:
- Brake warning lights that will turn on to notify you of a possible issue
- Pulsation or vibrating in the steering wheel or brake pedal
- Squealing or screeching when braking
- Pulling to one side while braking
- Burning odor
- Grinding noise when the brakes are applied
- Should you encounter these, bring your Acura in for service immediately.
As well as periodic pad and rotor service, the brake fluid needs regular replacement. This specialized fluid is very good at what it does; it transfers your brake pedal action to the brake pads at each wheel, resulting in the braking action you desire. The heat generated when you use your brakes is transferred to the brake fluid, which means it must have a high boiling point. But brake fluid has a few drawbacks, which require a regular drain and fill service. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, it absorbs water. The result of this over time is that the boiling point of the brake fluid is lowered, and water in the fluid causes corrosion in your internal brake parts. If you brake hard going down a hill, old, water-containing brake fluid may boil, resulting in brake fade. This is more likely if you drive in hot climates. Brake fade happens when your brake pedal must travel farther and farther to accomplish the same amount of braking. When the pedal reaches the floor, you have brake failure (ineffective brakes). Vehicles subjected to frequent hard braking may need DOT 4 fluid with its higher boiling point. We are not trying to frighten you but to point out that regular brake inspections are a must, and brake fluid changes are as significant as frequent oil changes for your vehicle’s longevity and your family’s safety. Wheel sensors work with your ABS and stability control systems to prevent wheel lockup and loss of control. Our technician will make sure they are operating correctly during a brake inspection. Finally, regular hand brake adjustment is necessary. As the brakes wear, slack must be taken up in the hand (emergency) brake system for it to operate as it should. At Fremont Foreign Auto, we have dedicated brake repair experts. Call us at 510-793-6067 or visit our website to get a quote and book an appointment for a brake inspection or any service on your Acura you require.