Bad Brakes: How To Get Going So You Can Stop Again

23 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Brake service is a very serious topic; without properly functioning brakes, simply driving your car can be dangerous for you, your passengers, and any other vehicles on the road. What can you do when your stopping power isn't what it used to be?

Pinpoint the problem

Whether your brakes grind or the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor, it's important to try to pinpoint the issue before contacting mechanics or shops. Visual inspection and paying close attention while driving are the best ways to observe brake issues. Do you hear a grinding sound when stopping? Does your brake pedal hit the floor when you try to stop? Having this knowledge not only helps to determine if it can be a DIY fix, but also helps to eliminate unnecessary diagnostic testing if you need to take the car in for professional service.

Research mechanics

If the brake problem is way over your head, find a mechanic -- fast. Simple brake fixes, such as replacing brake pads, can usually be done by a stand-alone brake shop, but there are some issues that are best tackled by a mechanic or auto body shop. When in doubt, it's sometimes best to start with the type of shop that seems the least expensive, but don't prioritize saving money over a quality fix. Luckily, it's easy to find and evaluate mechanics online. Many websites will provide details about types of services provided and independent websites will also often provide ratings. Online word-of-mouth is a great way to assure that you receive quality service without overpaying.

What to expect at serivce appointment

After doing some basic observation of the problem and choosing a mechanic, it's time for your appointment. What happens now?

Even if you've already established a relationship with your mechanic, expect them to run some diagnostic tests. This will ensure that your brake issues don't have some other underlying cause, which will make driving safer down the road. This is usually followed by a detailed estimate including the issues, fixes, and costs. Keep in mind that you can seek a second opinion or veto any repairs if the shop advises repairs that don't seem mechanically necessary. Time involvement and final cost will vary by shop and extent of the repair needed, so it can be beneficial to shop around a little bit if you're able to go without wheels for a few days.

Working brakes are very important for your safety and the safety of other motorists. If you suspect a brake issue, get it fixed quickly at a shop like Buettner Tire & Auto.